National Geographic : 1952 Oct
3^.1 Charapan Builds with Wood, a Rarity in Adobe Mexico Tarascans' frame structures, called trojes, are known to have existed since the last quarter of the 18th century, but their origin is uncertain. Spain, which introduced so many styles into colonial Mexico, seems to have had nothing like them. Charapan's roofs bear heavy shakes instead of shingles. Doors generally face the rear court, leaving the street side bare. Donkeys here carry planks cut from the slopes of an extinct volcano. ban, where green pottery is made. Covered with a copper glaze, this pottery is celebrated throughout Mexico. On the fourth day we arrived at San Lorenzo, a village of about 600. Now we were within earshot of Paricutin's explosions. In one of the many gardens a young Tarascan sat strumming his guitar. Long black hair hung over his eyes. His hat was perched high at an angle on his head. About his neck he wore a brilliant green kerchief in sharp contrast to a sparkling pink-satin blouse. On his knee a glaring red serape was grace fully draped. Suddenly his dark, round face grimaced, and he burst into song. Strategy of Stealing a Bride By the village fountain we found maidens washing cooked corn in preparation for festive dishes, for it was Christmas Eve (page 546). Disconcerted by our inspection, the girls giggled and hid their faces. I was inclined to linger, but Camilo urged me to leave. "Be careful, Justino," he said jokingly. "Wells and public fountains, you know, are the scene of many courtships. Unless you plan to steal a girl to be your bride, let us be on our way." He had a point. As in the days of the conquest, Tarascan youths frequently steal their brides-with the full cooperation of the bride-to-be, of course. The strategy is planned in covert meetings at the wells and public fountains of the vil lages, where the girls come to fill their water jars. The abduction is usually staged in the evening, when darkness facilitates flight. The girl may be captured voluntarily or by pretended force as she leaves church or strolls with her girl friends around the plaza. The lover then runs with her, or carries her off, to a relative's home or previously selected refuge. Friends ward off pursuers. Later the groom's family soothes the bride's parents. The marriage is formalized by civil authori ties and followed by elaborate ceremonies.