National Geographic : 1952 Oct
518 Gnarled and Ancient Olive Trees Shade Tarascans Visiting Tzintzuntzan These Mexicans trace descent from an Indian tribe that fought off Aztec conquest, and this quiet town, once a fair-sized city, was the capital of their vanished empire. During a three-day pre-Lenten fiesta the Indians sleep here on straw mats. The olives, a few of them 10 feet thick, were planted some four centuries ago, in the time of Bishop Vasco de Quiroga (page 539), but are no longer cultivated. to rest beyond the first line-only to find a second ring of marksmen awaiting them. Biggest hunt of the year, when a thousand canoes may participate, occurs on October 31, when the season begins. This hunt precedes the Dia de Todos Santos, All Saints' Day.* After midnight the women and young girls of the island leave for Janitzio's cemetery. They bear baskets of marigolds, lighted can dles, and elaborately prepared dishes of fruit, bread, boiled duck, and other delicacies, which they place on the graves in impressive array. After covering the immediate area with flower petals, they keep vigil by candlelight throughout the night. Kneeling, they chant and whisper prayers, while the chapel bell tolls above the flicker of a thousand tiny lights. On more ordinary days, I found, Janitzio's busiest hours come in the early morning and evening, when the fishing fleet arrives and departs. Fishing Boats Carved from Single Log Between times, young boys and girls wind thread for the nets and string it out in great lengths to dry along the streets. Old men * See "Mexican Land of Lakes and Lacquers," 22 illustrations from photographs by Helene Fischer and Luis Marquez, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, May, 1937.