A symbolic wedding in Oaxaca yesterday was intended as a message of love, respect and care for nature.
The sound of church bells and conch shells echoed through Santa María del Tule about 11:30am Sunday when Peruvian environmentalist Richard Torres married a tree.
It wasn’t just any tree, but the famous, 2,000-year-old cyprus known as El Tule, one of the oldest and widest trees in the world. Its circumference, and its height, are both about 40 meters.
Nor was it Torres’s first marriage to a tree, but his seventh in a campaign called “Marry a tree, save your oxygen.”
A traditional healer, or curandero, officiated at the wedding ceremony, conducted before dozens of environmentalists, tourists and local residents, many of whom watched in wonder as Torres kissed the bride.
“Stop the hand of those who cut the trees,” Torres declared. “I denounce this genocide and ask the president of Mexico to stop the destruction.”
Based on Inca customs, the ceremony included offerings of water, mole, cotton, salt, mezcal and several other items, but that part of the event did not sit well with members of the committee responsible for looking after the Tule tree.
One removed them from the branches of the tree and threw them on the ground, causing indignation among some onlookers, and then demanded a payment of 50,000 pesos, or US $2,750.
Perhaps it was a dowry they had in mind, but Torres responded by observing that the tree was not private property, and that nature belongs to everyone.
The tule tree is a major tourist attraction for the town of about 8,000 located 11 kilometers from the city of Oaxaca.
The Peruvian activist intends to continue his campaign in Guerrero and Chiapas.