BOOK ALERT Maya Studies with the Maya

Book Alert Maya studies with the Maya

“Maya Studies with the Maya is visually captivating, containing photos and graphics on Maya art and culture to illustrate his work and theses”. For those who hold a deep fascination with Maya culture, Ruud van Akkeren’s compelling new book takes you on an insightful and personal journey that begins in his native Holland and ends in the lush Highlands of […]

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The River, the Wall, and the Borderlands

The River, the Wall and the Borderlands

A first-generation American’s search for answers along his country’s greatest divide. On an unseasonably warm February afternoon, Austin Alvarado pushed his canoe into the winding waters of the Río Grande. Steadying the boat with his paddle as he had so many times before, the 25-year-old wilderness guide looked over his shoulder and locked eyes with a familiar face. His mother, […]

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Galería El Attico Celebrates 30 Years

ElAttico_APR-400

El Attico Celebrates 30 years highlighting Art in Guatemala Founded by Luis Escobar and Guillermo Monsanto, El Attico opened its doors to the public on April 13, 1988. The inaugural exhibition showcased work by well-known and respected artists, such as Elmar Rojas, Dagoberto Vásquez Castañeda, Ana María de Maldonado, Manolo Gallardo, Luis Álvarez, Ana María de Rademann, Walter Peter Brenner, […]

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ANDAS Processional Floats in Antigua

photo by Willy Posadas

All five senses are assaulted by the many sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touch of the Lenten season, throughout Guatemala but especially in La Antigua. It is an intense period of sorrow, joy, regret, celebration that fills the days with sensual emotions. The ornately colorful carpets, the funereal marches and drums, the pungent corozo and pine odors, the tostadas and […]

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Master Artists Working on Lenten Splendor in Antigua

Master Artists Working on Lenten Splendor in Antigua

The celebration of Lent in La Antigua Guatemala has become the largest in the word over recent years – yes, larger than Seville, Spain – and the Antigüeño artists have certainly contributed to this! Decorations for the velaciones – holy vigils held in the church before each procession representing the garden that Jesus visited before crucifixion – have become increasingly incredible, […]

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The Procession from Santa Catarina Bobadilla

Procession from Santa Catarina Bobadilla

The Procession of Jesús Nazareno de la Salvación de Santa Catarina Bobadilla (Sunday, February 18th, 2018) Each Sunday during Lent, and leading up to Holy Week in La Antigua, Guatemala, several local congregations sponsor religious processions that depart from their villages, following various routes through its cobbled streets and then returning to their respective churches late in the evening.  The […]

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Lenten Season in Antigua

Lenten Season in Antigua

Lent begins this month on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 14, starting the countdown to Holy Week and the largest celebration in the world in La Antigua Guatemala! Yes, we outdid Seville, Spain a few years ago. The most exciting velaciónes (holy vigils) and processions this month are from Santa Catarina Bobadilla and Santa Ines, both located on the outskirts of this magical city. […]

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December Celebrations Virgin of the Conception

Inmaculada-Feature

After Burning the Devil festivities throughout Guatemala on December 7, Christmas celebrations begin the following day with processions for the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception. This is definitely one of the most popular traditions in the country. The devotion of the virgin dates to the 1500s in Guatemala, while the “Rezado (procession) de la Inmaculada Concepción de San Francisco” in […]

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Handel’s Messiah Concert

Handel’s Messiah Concert

While composing Messiah, Handel is said to have remarked, “I did think I did see all Heaven before me and the great God Himself.” Whether by divine inspiration or unbridled passion, George Frideric Handel crafted Messiah, his greatest oratorio, in a mere three to four weeks between August and September in 1741. “He would literally write from morning to night,” […]

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In the Highlands of Guatemala

actual-feature-images

In the Highlands of Guatemala, one Maya Community is taking back its Cultural Identity. Innovative educational programs help the indigenous Poq’omchi’ of San Cristóbal Verapaz regain their voice after decades of oppression. On a sultry afternoon in late June, dozens of men, women and children pour enthusiastically into the “Salon Esperanza” at a high school in San Cristóbal, a predominantly Poq’omchi’-speaking, […]

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Independence Day in Guatemala

Independence Day in Guatemala

Independence Day in Guatemala is on September 15. On Sept. 14, Guatemalan runners from across the country ready themselves for the passing of the torch, known as the “Antorcha de la Independencia.” Year after year, the torch travels throughout Central America as a representation of the freedom and independence of the Central American peoples. In Guatemala, bystanders wave, whistle and […]

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Mendel Samayoa Art Exhibit

Mendel Samayoa

Mendel Samayoa, an avid free-wheeling motorcyclist, holds a degree in architecture from the Universidad de San Carlos, and his artistic passions embrace film, theater and painting. His cinema credits include “Donde Acaban los Caminos,” “Looking for Palladin” (shot in La Antigua Guatemala), “La Vaca,” and the award-winning short films “Sweet Dalila” and “La Paciente.” Samayoa has undertaken impressive theatrical productions […]

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Book Alert CENTER OF THE WORLD

Book Alert Center of the World

The Good Reads review describes “Center of the World” as “New York Times bestselling author Jacqueline Sheehan’s evocative and emotionally compelling novel, a mother and her adopted daughter each embark on a journey of self-discovery in the wake of a stunning revelation.” “Sheehan’s writing is lively and vivid and her feel for historical detail is fine.” — The New York […]

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Don’t Call Me María part 3

dont call me maria

The struggle continues over who can claim ownership of the colors, threads and shapes of indigenous weavings. “The women no longer knew how to weave,” recalled Angelina Aspuac, a 40-year-old community activist from Santiago, Sacatépequez. In the Mayan community, where the huipil and corte have been integral elements of culture, the observed loss of weaving became a call to arms. […]

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Don’t Call Me María part 2

Indigenous women

Indigenous women are fighting back to receive recognition of their textiles’ artistic value and a fair market share in the sales. A cloth huipil, open like a book, lay on Natalia and Flavio Otzin’s wooden table, sunshine bouncing off its bright red, purple and blue designs. Otzin swept her hand across the shapes as she explained each one, reading the […]

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Don’t Call Me María

Indigenous women

AFEDES is fighting through the Guatemalan constitutional courts to have Mayan cloth recognized as intellectual property of the Maya people and receive fair market compensation. For indigenous Maya women in Guatemala the clothes on their backs are sacred texts of their way of life. They tell a story of spirit and war, the heritage of an ancient people invaded by […]

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Museo Ixchel del Traje Indígena

Museo Ixchel

The Museo Ixchel del Traje Indígena (Ixchel Museum of Indigenous Costumes) celebrates the Month of Museums. When you think of Guatemala, one of the first things that comes to mind is color—and what better represents its colors than the rich textile traditions of this country? Visitors often ask me: “Do you know where I can find those beautiful textiles I […]

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Holy Week Procession Route Maps 2017

Procession route map

CLICK HERE for Procession Route Maps of 5 major Semana Santa (Holy Week) events. Check the legend and pick the route you would like to see. (Mobile device friendly) April 9 Palm Sunday: Procession of Jesús Nazereno (La Reseña), from La Merced Church. Palm Sunday / Domingo de Ramos Leaves at 11am — Returns at 11pm Passes La Antigua Central […]

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Traditions During Holy Week in La Antigua Guatemala

holy week

Lent and Holy Week in La Antigua Guatemala are full of century-old traditions. The first processions were held when the Spanish arrived in Guatemala in the 1520s and became very popular throughout the city’s history. When all of the processional sculptures were moved to Guatemala City in 1773 with the capital’s inhabitants, Antigua was able to bring “new” century- old […]

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The Procession of Jesús Nazareno de la Dulce Mirada

procession

This year The Procession of Jesús Nazareno de la Dulce Mirada de Santa Ana will occur on Sunday, March 26. Despite thousands of visitors from around the world who descend upon La Antigua Guatemala for Lent or Cuaresma each year, I don’t think I will ever tire of its pageantry or elaborate celebrations. To be sure, the crowds during Semana Santa […]

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Hermandades Using Social Media

Hermandades using Social Media

Century-old hermandades using social media to increase carrier participation. Lent is here with Ash Wednesday celebrated on March 1. All of the Lenten activities are designed and organized by hermandades. Traditionally, men and boys are in their grandfather’s hermandad and women and girls in their grandmothers’ hermandad. With processions in many of the surrounding areas and all of the active […]

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Crafting Ceramic Art in Antigua

Crafting Ceramic Art

Another generation creating centuries-old Christmas traditions in La Antigua by crafting ceramic art. The Rodenas family has been well known in La Antigua Guatemala for centuries for making ceramics. Don Francisco Rodenas made loza (ceramic dishes) and added an innovation at that time as he began to make miniature items, including toy figures that were then painted and became popular […]

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BOOK ALERT Los Nawales: The Ancient Ones

Los Nawales

Los Nawales: The Ancient Ones Merchants, Wives and Lovers: The Creation Story of Maximón by Vincent Stanzione Storytelling is a traditional art form that has existed since the beginning of time. All societies pass down stories from one generation to the next using various mediums, including folktales, myths, rituals and artifacts. Stories illuminate the essential nature of a culture, how […]

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A Contemporary Urban Experience in Antigua

A Contemporary Urban Experience

A Contemporary Urban Experience combining theater, art and dining, comes to El Sitio in La Antigua Guatemala the weekends of Feb. 17-19 and Feb. 24-26. This ambitious undertaking, conceived by Gavin Kern and presented by the Antigua Theater Club and Angeline Events, pairs a performance of the comedy Bakersfield Mist with contemporary art in temporary, pop-up venues. “I hope that […]

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Maya dance drama, the Rabinal Achí

Maya dance

The ancient Maya dance drama, the Rabinal Achí, is one of the best examples of surviving pre Columbian culture in Mesoamerica. Place of the Lord’s Daughter  It was a beautiful Sunday morning in late January when I set out from Guatemala City with an adventurous group of friends for the remote Mayan town of Rabinal in Baja Verapaz. One of […]

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José Cecilio del Valle of Guatemala

José Cecilio del Valle

On the eve of celebrating Central America’s independence from Spain, and six years before its 200th anniversary, a Guatemalan remembers José Cecilio del Valle, his long-forgotten great-great-great grandfather, a key player in the region’s independence and one of the great thinkers of his time. (1780-1834) Mexico and Central America became independent from Spain on Sept. 15, 1821, but it would take […]

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Guatemala National Flower The Monja Blanca

Guatemala national flower

A Rare and Exquisite National Symbol Everyone loves orchids! Originating 60 million years ago in the temperate zones of Asia and the Americas, orchids have the widest range of flowers and color of any plant family. Guatemala is home to one of the largest varieties of orchids in the world with hundreds of species growing throughout the country. With independence […]

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