Capilla del Señor de Tlacolula
Just before the market, take a look inside the main town church, the 1531 Parroquia de la Virgen de la Asunción. Although its interior is distinguished enough, the real gem is its attached chapel, Capilla del Señor de Tlacolula, which you enter from the nave of the church.
Every inch of the chapel’s interior gleams with sculptures of angels and saints, paintings, and gold scrollwork. Notice the pair of floating angels, each holding a great pendulous solid silver censer, on opposite sides of the altar; also, admire the solid silver fence in front of the altar.
Saints seem to live on in every corner of the chapel. Especially graphic are the martyrs, who reveal the way they died, such as a sorrowful San Sebastián, his body shot full of arrows, and a decapitated San Pablo, above the right transept, his head on the ground.
Ordinarily tranquil, the church grounds seem to nearly burst with the faithful during the five-day Fiesta del Santa Cristo de Tlacolula, climaxing on the second Sunday of October, when the plaza is awash with merrymakers. It is then that folks enjoy their favorites, the Danza de los Jardineros (Dance of the Gardeners) and the spectacular Danza de las Plumas (Dance of the Feathers), along with a pelota mixteca (traditional Mixtec ball game) tournament.
© Bruce Whipperman from Moon Oaxaca, 5th edition