Ayapaneco. They call themselves Numte oote. Their language belongs to the Mixe-Zoque linguistic family. The Zoque-Ayapaneco language is believed to derive from a mixture of the Mixe and Zoque languages ​​of the state of Veracruz, which spoke the Olmec and the Tabasco Mayans . The word Ayapa means place of mists of Ayau-pan (ayauitl-mist, and pan- toponymic ending).


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  • 1 Location and ecological zone
  • 2 History
  • 3 Religion
  • 4 Productive activities
  • 5 Parties
  • 6 Gastronomy
  • 7 Sources

Location and ecological zone

The Ayapanecos live in Ayapa, a community in the municipality of Jalpa de Méndez , whose municipal seat is located 33 kilometers from Villahermosa , Tabasco. Ayapa is an old Zoque population located in the coastal plain of Tabasco, between the Mezcalapa-Grijalva river and the sea front of the Gulf of Mexico , near the Cuxcuxapa river .

Due to its proximity to the sea front from the Gulf of Mexico, the region has intense warm temperatures with high humidity levels. The annual average temperature is 26.42 ° C. Its habitat is currently characterized by the variety of species related to high cocoa plantations, where fruit and timber trees abound.


It is a community that over the centuries has subsisted in an environment inhabited by Nahua and Chontal peoples and by diverse groups of the non-indigenous population, which includes immigrants from different countries.

Archaeological data indicate that the Ayapa region was inhabited since pre-Hispanic times, and for centuries it developed with groups of different ethnolinguistic affiliations. Since the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century, there were already different Zoque towns in the region. At that time, all Zoque-speaking peoples were under the political control of the cytophans, with whom they maintained permanent communication. This situation of dominion not only included the towns of the sierra (Teapa and Tacotalpa), but also the zoques of Ayapa. Before the collapse generated by the Conquest, Ayapa was part of a highly populated region in which there was a dense human, political and commercial mobility. Finally, the Spaniards, through the encomienda, consolidated settlement, pacification, control of the towns and evangelization.

After centuries of colonization, in the 20th century , Ayapa became the only Zoque town on the coastal plain of Tabasco. The Ayapaneco people have suffered the attacks of Castilianization and acculturation. According to data provided by INEGI in the 2010 census, out of a total of 57 people registered in indigenous households, only 21 were Ayapaneco speakers.


The majority of the population in Ayapa is Catholic. The corpus of religious beliefs consists of a mixture of Catholicism with pre-Hispanic elements such as the belief in pernicious nahuals, goblins, light beings, talking animals, among others; sometimes interspersed with images of Catholic saints such as San Miguel Arcángel and the Virgen de la Candelaria.

In local oral tradition, the timely intervention of these saints restores the instituted and natural social order of things, which has been threatened by supernatural forces. Seven small colonies make up Ayapan, each of which has erected a hermitage dedicated to a saint, who occupies a tutelary function in relation to all the residents of the colony.

The church of San Miguel Arcángel is the most important in hierarchy, since in addition to being the oldest it is where the patron saint of the community is located, his image is a strong sign of collective identity and occupies the place of protective ancestor, father and patron of all the inhabitants of Ayapa.

Productive activities

Until a few years ago, subsistence agriculture was the main productive activity; Currently this is only practiced by older adults, since most adults and young people employ their labor force within the community or in nearby municipal seats, where they are hired as laborers, bricklayers, domestic workers, employees, taxi drivers, policemen, shop assistants, mechanics and drivers. Others choose to emigrate to Villahermosa and Ciudad del Carmen or to tourist destinations such as Cancun and Playa del Carmen. Also, many others are dedicated to informal and formal commerce and have greengrocer businesses, grocery stores, food outlets, hairdressers, sale of fertilizers and seeds, among others.

Some young people who have managed to study a university career are dedicated to exercising it in the locality and in the main cities of the region.


The festivals dedicated to the saints occupy a central role in the spirituality of the people of Ayapa, for this reason a lot of time and resources are invested to carry them out. People from the community and neighboring communities participate in these festivals. The most important festival is that of San Miguel, which is celebrated on September 29.

The patron saint festivities are very important within the annual cycle of celebrations, since they represent the moment when the community reaffirms itself as a group before other populations and allows the consolidation of identities both at the regional and local level. The central role of these celebrations is the meeting of the divinity with the community, which takes place over the approximate ten days that the festivities last.


Cocoa forms an important part of its gastronomic culture; With this ingredient the drinks known as chorote and pozol are prepared, which are consumed in daily life, the cornfield, the patron saint festivities, domestic rituals and in the celebration of Day of the Dead.



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