Lent & Semana Santa in Antigua Guatemala

Antigua used to be second to Seville, Spain for its Lenten celebration until recently. It is now considered the largest celebration in the world with 50 activities during the 40 days of Lent. In March processions fill the streets of Antigua with the fragrance of incense, pine needles, flowers and coroso (a pod also used for carpet making). The increase […]

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La Camioneta

Guatemalan Bus documentary wins awards at film festivals Guatemala is no stranger to the iconic symbol of North American transport—big, yellow school buses crowd the streets of tiny pueblos and carry thousands of Guatemalans up and down the country every day. But how do these buses go from the United States down to Guatemala and become transformed into camionetas? Mark […]

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Beginning of Lent in Antigua Guatemala

The first Sunday after the first full moon of spring is Easter, this year on March 27. Count back seven Wednesdays to mark the beginning of the 40-day period of Lent on the Christian calendar. It is Ash Wednesday, and the date in 2005 is February 9. In La Antigua Guatemala this means the beginning of vigils (velaciones) and processions, […]

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Siggy Holbik

Bridging cultures and continents with Guatemalan crafts Many of us living in (and visiting) La Antigua Guatemala love to stop by Casa de los Gigantes (7a calle oriente #18) from time to time to see what’s new in the “House of the Giants.” It is well worth your time to investigate every nook and cranny for some treasure or another. […]

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San Pedro Artisans

by Hilary Kilpatric “I love what I do. I have acquired considerable experience, and it is rewarding to see people appreciate my work. We work with sustainable woods, and everything we do is entirely done by hand. It is our way of preserving the environment,” explains lead carpenter Teo Hernández. The carpentry team consists of five, who work just outside […]

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El Mundo del Artista Maya

Una impresionante exposición de piezas arqueológicas que muestran la visión del Mundo del Artista Maya, se presentará en el marco del XII Festival Internacional de Cultura Paiz, acompañada de un ciclo de conversatorios a cargo de expertos en el tema. La XII edición del Festival Internacional de Cultura Paiz, además de presentar al público originales eventos musicales, también contará con […]

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Rab’inal Achí

Cosmic Dance of the Ancient Maya The Rab’inal Achí dance-drama traces its roots to pre-Columbian times and is probably the best-preserved, authentic Mayan cultural event in Mesoamerica. The choreographed dance/play depicts creation myths, dynastic political rivalries and even predicted the Spanish conquest of the land of the Maya centuries before it occurred. Since remote times the Maya used musical theater […]

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Are you an Enlightened Holiday Traveler?

One of the blessings of traveling is the opportunity to gain some fresh perspectives, especially during the holidays. When we visit another culture we expand our own perspectives and gain valuable insights. Guatemala travel experiences stimulate a greater appreciation for the magnificence of life and a greater appreciation for ourselves. Touching exotic and ancient cultures activates our awareness that there […]

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The Devil Gets His Due

Burning of the Devil in Antigua Guatemala by Nelo Mijangos - www.NeloMH.com

All year long he hides under the bed or in the junk piled up in the corner, casting misfortune or worse on helpless mortals. But on Wednesday, December 7, at 6 p.m. sharp, the Devil gets his comeuppance, as he is tossed out of the house along with the trash and set ablaze in the Quema del Diablo (Burning of […]

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More about the new cycle of the Maya calendar

Maya calendar prepared by Calixta Gabriel

Much has been speculated by foreign writers about the “end” of the Maya calendar, including that it is the end of the world. According to Professor David Stuart (Mesoamerican Center at the University of Texas), much of this evolved out of the book Mexican Mystique (1975), which we all read in our classes at the university. Written by an author […]

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Latest works by Byron Rabé at Mesón Panza Verde

Latest works by Byron Rabé at Mesón Panza Verde by Nelo Mijangos

“Pienso e colores como en luz flotando atravezando lentamente el tiempo y el espacio” con esta declaración Byron Rabé nos introduce a su obra “La danza de la armonía universal”. El artista guatemalteco está presentado en la galería “Panza Verde” una colección en la que une la cultura maya con su arte. “I think in colors like floating light traversing […]

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The Magnificent and Fragile Giant Kites of Sumpango

Text/photos by Louise Wisechild

Kites of November Written by. Louise Wisechild On Nov. 1, visitors travel to Sumpango and Santiago, Sacatépequez, to stand in awe of los barilletes gigantes, the giant kites made specifically for the Day of the Dead in these two Kaqchikel Mayan villages. As large as 20 meters, the size of a six-story building, the kites are decorated in figures, landscapes […]

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La Casa De Cervantes

by Julie Potvin, Asesora en Comercializacíon/Conseillere en Commercialisation CECI

Written by. Julie Potvin An oasis of literature in Guatemala City’s Historical Center Just behind the Palacio del Gobierno, in Guatemala City’s zone 1, on 5a calle at the corner of 5a avenida, art meets literature under the roof of a cultural center that promotes fair trade, as well as a more inclusive and sustainable economy for Guatemalan society. Since […]

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The Rabin Ajau 2012

This incredible pageant will take place in Cobán, Alta Verapaz on Saturday July 28 – 4pm The annual Rabin Ajau pageant exalts the purity and essence of the indigenous cultures from the four cardinal points of Guatemala and brings together in a harmonic convergence all the Maya ethnicities of the Land of the Quetzal and the Jaguar. The Rabin Ajau […]

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Sweeping Guatemala

Every place you go, everywhere you look, sweeping is going on Written by. Melba Milak. Volcanoes erupt; boulders and rocks bounce down mountainsides; big ocean swells on the Pacific crash into the beaches; dust and dirt blow through the air and sculpt little piles of spindrift. And yet, the Guatemalan people have found a way to deal with these forces […]

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Who is Santo Hermano Pedro?

Santo Hermano Pedro allegorical procession goes throughout the streets of Antigua after the 2 p.m. mass on Sunday, April 29

San Francisco Church in Antigua celebrates the anniversary of Santo Hermano Pedro’s death (1667) on April 25 with concerts and fireworks. An allegorical procession goes throughout the streets of Antigua after the 2 p.m. mass on Sunday, April 29. Hermano Pedro de San José Betancur was born on March 21, 1626, in Vilafor on the island of Tenerife in the […]

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Holy Week Procession Schedule for Antigua Guatemala

Posición/Position: 2do lugar / 2nd place Premio: Q300 Tema/theme: Semana Santa / Holy Week Título/title: Miserere nobis Lugar/place: La Antigua Guatemala Autor/author: Nery Racancoj

April 1 — Palm Sunday: Procession of Jesús Nazareno de La Merced, La Merced church. April 2 — Holy Monday: Vigil of Jesús Nazareno de La Merced, La Merced church. April 3 — Holy Tuesday: Vigil of Jesús Nazareno del Perdón, San Francisco El Grande church. April 4 — Holy Wednesday: Vigil of Señor Sepultado, Escuela de Cristo Church. 2pm […]

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How have Lent and Holy Week changed in Antigua since the first celebrations?

Lent began this year on Feb. 22 with Ash Wednesday, and March and April bring some of the largest processions in the world up through Easter Sunday on April 8. Antigua’s celebrations used to be considered second only to Seville, Spain, but during recent years, these celebrations have been considered by many the largest in the world. Introduced by the […]

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The Chajul Basket

Tradition and Souvenir Baskets are important utilitarian, decorative and potential income items found around the world, including Guatemala, where many locations are known for specific basket styles. Among them is the community of Chajul, located in “the Ixil Triangle,” a region in the department of Quiché that encompasses the municipalities of Santa María Nebaj, San Juan Cotzal and San Gaspar […]

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Face to Face with El Cristo Negro

The 1595 original now stands behind glass

The most important day at the Basilica of Esquipulas is January 15, when many thousands of pilgrims flock from all over Latin America. Ask most Guatemaltecos what is in Chiquimula and you will invariably receive the reply: “El Cristo Negro,” often followed by, “That is all there is in Chiquimula …” Undaunted by such disparaging remarks and the prospect of […]

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Traditions: Posadas and Nacimientos

Guatemalan Nativity scene (photo by Rudy A. Giron)

The nacimiento is still the star of the show in Guatemala. What is now the most important celebration of the year came to the Americas with the Spanish Christian evangelists. The Guatemalans, already an innately spiritual people closely in tune with nature and in whom creativity thrives, had no trouble adapting to the new religious event. The timing was good. […]

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What is happening with the Palace of the Captains General?

A year ago we reported on the back story of the restoration of the Palace of the Captains General in La Antigua Guatemala. The project met all restoration standards with a Q16 million budget and a projected two-plus years worth of work. I have been trained in architectural conservation (ICCROM/Rome), and I am very picky about restoration projects. The palace […]

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Cultural Festival in Mexico Highlights Harry Diaz Exhibit

The Caribbean Cultural Festival was held in Quintana Roo, Mexico this year. One of Guatemala’s foremost photographers, Harry E. Díaz of Quetzaltenango, was invited to present his impressive exhibit Luces de Xelajú. “Because of its magnitude and relevance, this festival could be called the Pan American Games of Art & Culture, to give a comparison,” said Díaz.   At the […]

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Morral Builder

Handmade bags reflect the creativity of a tradition The morral (bag) is a common textile item found all over Guatemala and is often distinct to specific municipalities. Bags likely developed because men’s traje does not have pockets, and they became a necessary accessory for men to carry small items when walking to the milpa fields or market. Women sometimes use […]

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