Cargo system

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The cargo system (also known as the civil-religious hierarchy, fiesta or mayordomía system) is a collection of secular and religious positions held by men or households in rural indigenous communities throughout central and southern Mexico and Central US Imports or America.

These revolving offices, or cargos, become the unpaid responsibility of men who are active in civic life. They typically hold a given post for a term of one year, and alternate between civic and religious obligations from year to year. Office holders execute most of the tasks of local governments and churches. Individuals who hold a cargo are generally obligated to incur the costs of feasting during the fiestas that honor particular saints.

Where it is practiced, there is generally some expectation of all local men to take part in this cargo system throughout their lives. Office holders assume greater responsibilities as they grow in stature in the community. Such progression requires substantial financial resources, but eventually an individual who holds a requisite number of posts in service to his community retires and joins a group of elders instrumental in community decision-making, including appointing people to cargos.



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