The History And Culture Of Corn

- Aug 30, 2018-


   There is a saying: European civilization is a wheat civilization, Asia is a rice civilization, and Latin America is a corn civilization. Mexico and Central America are the birthplaces of corn. According to archaeological discoveries, there were wild corns as early as 10,000 years ago, and the Indians have been planting corn for 3,500 years. Archaeologists have discovered the remains of corn culture between 7000 BC and 1540 AD in the Tehuacan Valley of Puebla, indicating how the ancient Indians began to pick wild fruits while hunting activities became scarce. The transition to the process of planting corn.

    The long history of corn culture has enabled Mexicans to temper the cultivation and processing techniques of corn. In Mexico, there are not only white corn, yellow corn, but also dark blue corn, dark green corn, purple red corn, and multicolored corn arranged in red, blue, green, white and yellow. The variety of corn food made by Mexicans has been numerous and numerous, and there are new creations.

    Corn worship - one of the most important cultural phenomena in Mexico. For Mexicans, corn is more than just food, but a fetish. It is the object of worship in Indian religion in thousands of years. In the ancient Indian goddess, there are several corn gods, such as the Hinter Otto corn god, the Sylon tender goddess, the Komko Atel corn ear goddess, etc. They all symbolize happiness and luck. There are many myths and legends about corn in the Mexican folk, which combine the origin of human beings with the discovery of corn. The legend of the Nahua Indians believes that in ancient times, the gods, who were dominated by Kte Sarkotel and Tez Katriboka, created the world and humanity in repeated struggles, in the fifth sun. At that time, humans developed from eating trees and plants to eating corn. In the Mayan mythology, the human body is made of corn by the creator. To this day, the indigenous people are still referred to as "corners", and the Guatemalan writer and Nobel Prize winner Asturias's novel "The Corn Man" is written about the Maya in modern society.

    The history of Mexico is moving in tandem with the evolution of corn. After the Spanish invasion, they spent huge financial resources to promote wheat cultivation in Mexico, providing preferential conditions in terms of land and capital, but the dominant crop cultivation pattern in Mexico has never changed. The ancient Indians, and even some of the Indians' lives until now, are organized and arranged around the cultivation and harvest of corn. The Indian tribes and village communities have set up corn mills in the village center, because every household has to grind their faces, so the mill has become a social place in the village. Sometimes the village assembly is also held here, which in turn makes it linked to “power”.

    In the Mayan circular solar calendar, the year is divided into nine solar terms by the position of the sun and the cultivation of corn. The most enjoyable and celebrated life after a hard day is the second most difficult day. It is the second festival called “mature”, which is equivalent to August 2, when the corn begins to mature, and people begin to enjoy the tender corn. season. After harvesting corn, the Indians will hold religious ceremonies and celebrations around the piles of corn, such as the use of lambs and drinks to worship the corn gods. This kind of celebration will last for a month until the corn is fully harvested. It is in other rural festivals that corn is also placed on the altar as an indispensable mascot. Sometimes people use colorful corn grains to form religious images or to divination.

    In modern Mexican society, due to the importance of corn in people's lives. The country plans to plant large areas of corn for planting, and each region will supplement other crops according to their respective climate and soil characteristics. Specific to the rural grassroots, villages of different sizes can be formed according to the size of the corn field. The history of civilization in Mexico is almost in sync with the evolution and development of corn. It is deeply infiltrated into the organization of Mexican society, the way people live and think.

    The source of inspiration for poets and artists. Ancient Indian poets have written many poems that sing corn, some of which have been passed down to this day. In the poems of the famous Mexican poet and the 1990 Nobel Prize winner Pas, the image of corn has been repeated, such as the verse in "Between Stone and Flower": "You restrain, endure, life / like a bird / From a corn stir-fried noodles to a jar of corn porridge." In "Sun Stone", he even sings with passion: "Your corn skirt is dancing and singing / your crystal skirt, water skirt...".

    The image of corn and corn gods appearing in the plastic arts has been in existence since ancient times, and archaeological excavations have repeatedly proved. The works of modern artists are new and give people a new feeling at a higher level. One of the most typical masterpieces is the giant mural "Life, Death and Four Elements" on the building of the Faculty of Medicine of the National Autonomous University of Mexico. The author is the famous Mexican wall painter Francisco Epps. The “four elements” in the painting refer to water, fire, earth and wind. This is a work that metaphorizes the life of Indian indigenous people. Corn is in the center of this masterpiece. We seem to understand that corn is in the wind and fire. The cultivation of nourishment is closely related to the vivid meaning of life and death.

    Corn culture has been pampered and promoted by people of insight in Mexico. In March 2003, the Mexico City People's Culture Museum and the National Indigenous Peoples Association, Chapinggo University and other units held an exhibition entitled “No corn, no country”, this exhibition will last for 8 months. In the brochure of the exhibition, there is such a warning: "Maize is the foundation of Mexican culture, a symbol of Mexico, and a source of infinite inspiration for us." "We created corn, and corn made us. We are always there. Living in mutual feeding. We are corn people."