What’s the Connection Between Blood, Sweat and Tears and Lake Chapala?

August 15, 2012

Many of you probably thought of the very popular musical group, Blood, Sweat and Tears which have been around in one form or another for many years and have thousands of fans including me… but no they’re not connected to Lake Chapala.
If you’re a history buff you may remember a speech that Winston Churchill gave upon becoming the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on May 13, 1940. He’s been misquoted as using the phrase “blood, sweat, and tears” in his speech to the British Parliament when in realty he used the words, “blood, toil, tears and sweat”.
It’s a moving speech, but no it’s no connected with Lake Chapala.
OK, Give Up? Ready to learn the connection between Blood, Sweat and Tears and Lake Chapala?
We have to go way, way back in history to make the connection, but there’s a direct connection.
Tlaloc was a God of the Aztecs, (the Mayas called him Chac) and he was, the rain god of pre-Columbian Mexico.The people at that time made various types of sacrifices including human ones to him. They also worshipped the sun and recognized its life-giving properties. Rain, was also high on their list of things to ask the gods for.
Now, as mentioned, Tlaloc was called Chac by the Mayans and was their  god of rain, agriculture and fertility. One ritual practice was to confine the men   outside the village where they fasted and refrained from worldly pleasures.
Chac's image included two fangs, and a long turned up exaggerated nose with tears cascading down his face.
Now, recall the Aztecs also worshiped this same god and part of their worship consisted of an annual sacrifice of children high atop the 4,100 meter high Eastern rim of the Valley of Mexico.
This horrendous event took place in the first month of the Aztec year (About equal to our February 12th and March 4th).
The practice was for the priests to lead the children to the top of the mountain to be sacrificed. The quantity of the mothers tears were believed to be a prediction of the volume of the coming rains.
In our State of Jalisco where Lake Chapala is located the Indigenous people during the time of the Aztecs (mid 115th Century) also worshiped Tlaloc.
The same North Shore of Lake Chapala is now filled with thousands of modern sun worshippers from the USA and Canada. Near the village of Tempisque the ancients held a 4 day long feast each May to honor Tlaloc, who they thought of as Lord of the Celestial Waters. (check the photo above and tell me if it doesn't look like celestial waters to you.)
The festivities began at sunrise with special dancers who purified the area.
The Elders then danced and offered their sweat and blood.Then at the beginning of the fourth day everyone gathered and made offerings of gratitude to Tlaloc. The high point of this ceremonial time was the arrival of young girls who sailed out onto the lake in reed canoes filled with flowers and fruits which where then ceremoniously tossed into the lake.
This was followed by everyone participating in the bleeding ritual (called Huentli). Each person in line passed in front of the priests who pierced their ears, shoulders and calves with maguey (cactus) thorns.
The blood from these piercings was collected in small clay pots called bucaros. The pots were then sealed with dough and bundled together with more pots in which sweat had been collected which represented the hard labor of the village people.
All of these vessels were carried out into Lake Chapala by the canoe girls and ceremoniously tossed into the lake.
The idea of all of this was an attempt to insure a good rainy season. The celebration was closed the final night with a large dance.
So, now you know the connection between Lake Chapala and blood, sweat and tears. Our area is filled with various celebrations, dances, music and parades for a good part of each year and we join in with the descendents of the Indigenous people to keep the ancient customs alive which continue in more modern form to this day.
No need to sacrifice blood, sweat and tears to come see or even perhaps to worship the Lake. So, why not plan a trip now or anytime really. The sun is always shining at Lake Chapala, the Lake is always enchanting and North Americans are always welcome (even in the rainy season when it almost always just rains at night wether we sacrifice with blood, sweat or tears or just celebrate the day with a tall cool adult beverage.
If you need more information about any aspect of living, playing, and retiring at Lake Chapala just drop me an e mail to Sid@ChapalaClub.com, or call me toll free at 1 – 855 – 242 – 7252. Make the subject line – "Rain God" so it will jump out of the hundreds of e mails I get each day, because I want to answer your e mail right away.
Also, keep your eyes peeled for my latest book, to be called “How to Live a Caviar Lifestyle on a Tuna Fish Pension at Safe, Beautiful, and Affordable Lake Chapala, Mexico” which we hope to have available the first quarter of 2013.
All for now,


  • Jgargyiconsulting

    Great post! Rain God. Hope to get to Chapala someday soon. Enjoy your site stories, tips and musings Sid!

  • http://www.facebook.com/SidGrosvenor Sid Grosvenor

     Hi Jgargyiconsulting,

    Glad you enjoyed the article. Looking way back in time helps me to put our
    current world in more perspective. What will the historians be writing about us in a
    thousand years.

    Look forward to showing you the area when you come down.

    Tu amigo, Sid

  • Yvonne

    Thanks for this interesting piece of Chapala history, Sid.

  • http://www.facebook.com/SidGrosvenor Sid Grosvenor

     Hi Yvonne,  Thanks for your nice feedback. I really appreciate it. Tu amigo, Sid

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