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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Fashion Weeks in Guatemala

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Haute couture designers boast of their Fashion Weeks held in many great cities. Designers, buyers, journalists gather for each city’s displays, especially crowded at the Big Four shows in Paris, London, Milan, New York. Starting with department show fashion walks a century ago, growing in mid-century to global fashion events eight times a year, Fashion Weeks are vitally important for […]

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Textiles Handwoven in San Juan La Laguna

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Cooperative Keiji Chiij is teaching others to conserve Guatemala’s cultural textile traditions of growing cotton, natural dyes and weaving. If you are looking for quality handwoven goods that support local weavers, preserve Mayan tradition and are environmentally sustainable, San Juan La Laguna, with its numerous shops boasting natural dyes and superb local woven cotton products, offers an array of unique merchandise. […]

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A New History for La Antigua Guatemala

history Antigua Guatemala

With the recent “discovery” of the “El Libro Segundo del Cabildo (1530-1541) de Santiago de Guatemala,” historians lit up with enthusiasm! Guatemala’s historians continue to rewrite the past. With many libraries and collections now available in digital form, we not only have access to more information but word has it that the archbishop of Guatemala has made the church’s archives […]

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María the Bonesetter, Lake Atitlán

Lake Atitlán healer

A visit to a traditional Maya Huesero. One evening I was walking down a familiar shortcut in San Pedro La Laguna. I hadn’t bothered to turn on my cellphone light. The tip of my sandal caught on a rock and I fell sideways, landing on a chunk of concrete, my hands clenched beneath my right ribs. Breathing was painful, all […]

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ART The Hottest New Looks this Summer by Jessica Waters Gordon

art in Guatemala

Jessica Waters Gordon has exhibited her work in Sydney, Australia at Tap Gallery, Blank Space Gallery and Global Gallery; her murals are on display as well in Australia and Mexico; and other works were featured in a collective travelling exhibition in Mexico campaigning for non-genetically modified corn. In the last five years, Gordon has been working consistently with two contrasting […]

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The Cathedral Restoration in La Antigua

Antigua Guatemala cathedral

The works include three phases: restoration of the side and back facades; new exterior lighting and fumigating/waterproofing the roofs; and new sidewalks. A fabulous restoration project is currently underway on the centuries-old cathedral in Antigua! We are so excited, as this part of the 1680 building has not been restored possibly since the 1940s-50s. The “Patronato de Catedral de La […]

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Transformations: A short history of La Antigua’s Central Park

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Everyone is so excited about the new Central Park project with our new flowers, railings, garbage cans and renovated benches. The Comité de Ornato La Antigua is doing a wonderful job renewing our Parque Central! The history of the Plaza Mayor, known now as Central Park, goes back to the beginning of the city when the first city planners laid […]

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Art in Guatemala “Before the Eclipse” by Jaime Permuth

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Recent photographs taken in two fascinating cities: Havana and Beijing. Inauguration of the exhibition, Wed. June 8 from 5-7pm at Galería Panza Verde, La Antigua I grew up in Guatemala during the country’s decades-long civil war and endured arduous years of repressive military dictatorships. Communism was a taboo subject. In particular, Cuba and Nicaragua were seldom discussed. And when they […]

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Education in Guatemala — A Brief Overview

Guatemala education

The University of San Carlos of Guatemala is one of the oldest universities in the Americas. Education has come a long way since higher education began in 1620 at the Colegio de Santo Tomas de Aquino, predecessor to San Carlos, which was officially founded in 1676. Women did not attend university in colonial times, and only some were accepted at […]

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Traje Tradition Meets Trade in Guatemala

Guatemala traje

Herlinda can’t remember a time when her family wasn’t wearing traje. Traje, the traditional clothing worn by many indigenous Guatemalans, is a cultural cornerstone. Its brightly colored hues and intricately woven thread are commonplace in many areas of Guatemala, especially in the rural highlands around Lake Atitlán. While traje’s gorgeous colors and craftsmanship help it stand out in a crowd, […]

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Early Religious Sculptures in Guatemala

Guatemala sculpture

Religious sculptures are a focal point for prayer and meditation. It is believed that when prayed to with the utmost religious fervor, the figure, or its essence, grants the believer a favor, request, or a miracle. Guatemala created its own extremely expressive style through talented Guatemalan-born artists resulting in the finest Spanish-American sculpture, particularly between 1650 and 1773. These works […]

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Semana Santa at Lake Atitlán, Guatemala

Guatemala holy week

Holy week at Lake Atitlán is a blending of Mayan and Christian Tradition. Living in La Antigua Guatemala affords me the opportunity of being right in the heart of one of the grandest celebrations of Lent (Cuaresma) in all of Latin America—Semana Santa! Last year, I even had the good fortune of experiencing some of the Holy Week festivities on […]

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The procession of Jesús Nazareno de la Caída de San Bartolomé Becerra

Semana Santa Guatemala

5th Sunday of Lent. March 13, leaves at 6am, returns at midnight. Passes Antigua’s Central Park at 4:30pm. For the online mobile interactive 2016 PROCESSION ROUTE click here. A day of pageantry and devotion. I remember waking at the stroke of 6 last year on the fifth Sunday of Lent in San Bartolo, a charming suburb of La Antigua Guatemala where I was […]

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How Holy Week Celebrations in La Antigua became the Largest in the World

Holy Week in Guatemala

Last year, it was estimated that 1.2 million visitors were in La Antigua for Lenten and Holy Week. When the Spanish conquerors arrived in Guatemala from Mexico in 1524, they brought with them the religious traditions from Seville, Spain. Little did they imagine that in the 21st century these celebrations would become the largest in the world. “Historical references to […]

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Trajes de Guatemala Finds a Home

Trajes de Guatemala

“At his home in Panajachel in 1959 I saw for the first time the unbelievable collection of 34 watercolors thematically titled Trajes de Guatemala.” Home was elusive for Frederick Siddaartha Crocker, native of West Virginia, son of an itinerant Pittsburgh wildcatter, scion of 19th century Oriental spiritualists, ensign whose ship the USS Terror was hit by a kamikaze. “Pat,” as […]

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BOOK ALERT: Incidents in the Life of a Maya Archaeologist

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As told to Winifred Veronda. Ed Shook approaches the reader of Incidents in the Life of a Maya Archaeologist “with outstretched arms and a toothy grin” and welcomes the unsuspecting into a life that, as he tells Winifred Veronda, didn’t progress from point A to point B but zigzagged from a night school engineering class to six decades as a […]

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BOOK ALERT: Xocomil, The Winds of Atitlán

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A novel by David Mohrmann. “Xocomil” (show-coh-MEEL) spans what most historians term the Guatemalan Civil War. That, unfortunately, does not begin to describe how it was experienced by the oppressed indigenous Mayas. The novel begins and ends at Lake Atitlán. It travels from traditional Mayan villages through the war-torn mountains of Guatemala; from cornfields in Kansas through the jungles of […]

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RAMÓN ÁVILA Art Exhibition, La Antigua Guatemala

Ramon Avila art

Master artist Ramón Ávila is a prolific painter, engraver, draftsman and sculptor who has maintained his momentum throughout the 52 years he has been living in Guatemala and influencing others with his work. The references that analyze his legacy outline its importance. They are many, and they have been made by distinguished analysts and critics. Hence each exhibit, whether of […]

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Crafting Clay Pottery in Tutuapa, Guatemala

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Food tastes better when it is cooked in a clay pot, everyone agrees. While today enamel and aluminum cookware is found in most kitchens, many cooks still have a clay pot or two for their special dish. Before synthetic materials were available, clay pots, in many shapes and sizes, were the only option. Pottery has a long tradition in Guatemala, […]

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The Festival of Santo Tomás in Chichicastenango, Guatemala

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  It was Sunday, Dec. 21, as I headed out for yet another adventure to the magical Mayan village of Chichicastenango set in the western Highlands of Guatemala. On Thursdays and Sundays, the native K’iche’ Maya turn this remote mountain village into one of the world’s most famous markets. Today, however, was particularly special because it was the culmination of […]

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Nativity Scenes / Nacimientos in Guatemala

Baby Jesus from a nativity scene, photo by Juan José Yas c.1915 (CIRMA)

Nativity scenes have been a tradition in Guatemala for centuries, much before Santa Claus and Christmas trees arrived. They were originally based on the descriptions found in the Gospel of Luke. St. Francis of Assisi received special permission from Pope Honorius III to make the first nativity scene with figures of Joseph and the Virgin Mary in 1223 with the […]

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The Art of Edgar Chipix, Exhibition in La Antigua, Guatemala

Edgar, La Antigua photo

Dreams and Visions – Sueños y Visiones. profile by Kerstin Sabene  photos: Alex Jones. It was a magnificent morning in July when I first met Edgar Nehemías Chipix Coc. We were hiking up to his “point of inspiration” in Santiago Zamora, a quiet Mayan-Kaqchikel village situated within the municipality of Sacatepéquez about 15 kilometers west of La Antigua Guatemala. It […]

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HANDEL’S MESSIAH in Guatemala City and La Antigua

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This year marks the 12th consecutive presentation of Handel’s Messiah in Guatemala, presented by Betty Whitbeck, executive producer, and the Community Choir of Guatemala. The first performance will be Tuesday, Dec. 8, at 7:30 p.m. at the National Theater in Guatemala City. Tickets are Q300 for platea, Q125 for Balcon l and Q60 for Balcón II. The performance moves to […]

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BOOK ALERT Traditional Weavers of Guatemala

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Their Stories, Their Lives. by Deborah Chandler and Teresa Cordon, photography Joe Coca. And what stories. What lives. Twenty weavers, dyers, spinners and basketmakers, between the ages of 33 and 89. In each of their lives, adversity was not only survived, but overcome, to produce beauty reflecting the traditions of the Kaqchikel, Tz’utujil, K’iche’, Ladino, Ixil, Q’eqchi, Poqomchi’ and Achi of Guatemala. […]

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BOOK ALERT Historias Culinarias de La Antigua Guatemala

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“All the books I’ve created have been something special and an important part of my life. Historias Culinarias de La Antigua Guatemala is my 20th book, and I believe that we absolutely accomplished our goal, to capture the heart and soul of everyday chefs and establishments in La Antigua Guatemala.”    —Ricky López Bruni Editor Ricky López Bruni Fotógrafos Ricky […]

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La Antigua Guatemala — A Step Back in Time

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Guatemala Insight by Elizabeth Bell, author/historian. Old drawings and photographs of La Antigua Guatemala have always fascinated me. They take me back in time to when Antigua truly seemed almost abandoned. We know very few people stayed after the official move of the capital to Guatemala City in 1773. While we have some historical records from the 1800s and few drawings by […]

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Susana Asensio, The New Mayor of La Antigua Guatemala

susana-asensio

by Julie López. If architect Susana Asensio embodies anything, it’s perseverance. Her bid for mayor’s office in the Sept. 6 elections was her fourth attempt to reach La Antigua Guatemala’s mayor’s office, a post she will hold from Jan. 14, 2016 through January 2020. This time around, she ran with a “comité cívico” (a local civic committee) that gathered community […]

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Cemeteries in Guatemala

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GUATEMALA INSIGHT. by Elizabeth Bell, author/historian. Guatemala honors all of the dead on All Saint’s Day (Nov. 1) and holds services on the Day of the Dead (Nov. 2) How cultures honor and bury their dead has been of great intrigue for millennia. While the ancient Maya buried their deceased under their houses or temples, the Spanish brought other traditions with […]

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Swirls Of Colors in Guatemala

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Sensuous Guatemala by Ken Veronda. During election time in Guatemala political parties display their colors and logos big and small, with supporters dressed in party T-shirts (playeras), waving posters and signs with party designs. Red, white, blue and green compete in this month’s run-offs after 15 other presidential candidates and scores of local office-seekers were eliminated, but their logos and […]

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