In Atencingo, Mexico, sugar is holy.
This is the story of a town that prayed for a rich harvest. Through scorching deserts and snow-capped mountains, the townspeople embarked on a 100-mile pilgrimage to Mexico City, where the Lady of Guadalupe met them in a basilica with open arms. When the sugar pilgrims arrived, they were greeted with trumpets and drums celebrating their arrival.
In Atencingo, children grow up chasing rabbits through the sugarcane fields. Burning stalks at the end of each harvest represent rebirth and regeneration. Our community prays for sugar each year, and women play a central role in sugar making. Every year, you’ll hear them whispering prayers to our Lady of Guadalupe. The elders pray for abundance, a healthy harvest, and the protection of their daughters.
MAMA Sugar is inspired by the story of my mother, Norma Leon. As a young 18-year-old girl, she made the courageous journey to leave her hometown of Atencingo and head to the United States. She left behind her mother, our family, and the sugarcane fields with the hope of finding opportunities in America. This venture is my promise to her. It’s a prayer to our great mother, a rekindling with our lands, and a love for sugar, which will always remind us of home.