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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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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Fashion Weeks in Guatemala

Fashion-weeks-Guatemala-1-400x

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

textiles Guatemala

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

Antigua Guatemala park

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

permuth-feature-400x

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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