Independence Day Celebrations in Guatemala

by Ken Veronda. Any good excuse is a good time for celebration, of course, but September holds a special one: Independence Day on the 15th, but the sounds, smells, tastes and sights are to be enjoyed all month. There are rich colors to see in this rainy season, with landscape lush; sweet tastes to enjoy, of fresh fruit and mellow […]

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La Chapetona — Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception

by Kerstin Sabene, photos by Kerstin Sabene and Mercedes Mejicanos. It was Sunday, Dec. 8 in La Antigua Guatemala, a magical day I would not soon forget. Friends and I had boarded a brightly colored chicken bus that was headed a few kilometers southwest along the Escuintla road to the neighboring town of Ciudad Vieja, literally Old City. I have […]

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Discovering Passion in Guatemala

  by Sri Ram Kaa and Kira Raa Passion! A word that evokes many differing images with diverse expressions of the experience. April is the month in Guatemala where passion ignites its richness with a cacophony of events, emotions and experiences that are here for you to discover. When we live from our passion we experience a richer life. It […]

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Carnival at Sugar City and It’s Raining Ash

Carnival at Sugar City and It’s Raining Ash by Thor Janson

Mazatenango is affectionately referred to by locals as “Sugar City,” as it is surrounded by cane fields and sugar refineries. The growing public antipathy toward everything sweetened and flavored with genetically modified corn syrup has led to a real boom for Guatemala’s south coast producers of real, natural, cane sugar. This current economic upsurge is reflected by the prosperity of […]

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Antigua Guatemala celebrates its 34th anniversary UNESCO World Heritage Site

UNESCO declaration (image by

Antigua Guatemala was included as No. 65 in the United Nation’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s World Heritage List during the World Heritage Convention’s Third Session in October 1979 in Luxor, Egypt. Today there are 981 sites that the World Heritage Committee considers as “having outstanding universal value… the protection, management, authenticity and integrity of properties are also important considerations.” […]

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Roberto Luz

Festival performers: Naik Madera

Roberto Luz is a tall, enigmatic man with long, dark hair and the posture of the perpetually preoccupied: head bent slightly forward, eyes in the middle distance. In person he’s charming and informed, but when talking to him one cannot help but feel as if he’s simultaneously elsewhere, listening to a music the observer cannot hear. He may very well be.

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25 Years of El Attico

An art gallery that doubles as a research center It’s not just technology that has changed since El Attico first opened its doors in April 1988. Back then it was an antique shop that doubled as an art gallery; now it’s an art gallery that doubles as a research center. “The antique shop was dwindling, while the art gallery was […]

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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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New Year Celebrations in Antigua Guatemala Photo Gallery

New Year Celebrations in Antigua Guatemala Photo Gallery by Nelo Mijangos

As in other occasions, Antigua Guatemala was among the favorite destinies in Guatemala to receive the new year. The Calle del Arco was the center of the celebrations which concluded with fireworks at 10pm. Afterwards everyone went to their preferred venue for the final count down at midnight to receive the new year. Cómo otras ocaciones, La Antigua Guatemala fue […]

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Photo Gallery of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Antigua Guatemala

Throughout Guatemala and Central America children dress in typical clothing paying homage to Our Lady of Guadalupe. One such procession begins at La Merced Church at 3pm in Antigua Guatemala. Typical food for sale outside the church of La Merced located at the north end of Calle del Arco in La Antigua Guatemala.

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The Devil Gets His Due

Burning of the Devil in Antigua Guatemala by Nelo Mijangos -

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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All Saints Day in Guatemala, A Photographic Essay

All Saints Day in Guatemala, A Photographic Essay by Geovin Morales

In Guatemala Día de Todos Los Santos (All Saints Day) is celebrated on November 1 and Día de Los Fieles Difuntos (Day of the Dead) on November 2. For these holidays Guatemalans prepare a very special once-a-year meal that goes by the name of fiambre. Guatemalans also spend time with the family at the cemetery remembering their dead. They also […]

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Halloween Night in Antigua Guatemala

Halloween Night in Antigua Guatemala by Nelo Mijangos

Here’s a photographic gallery of Halloween Night in Antigua Guatemala at the different venues and at Calle del Arco where locals and visitors alike dressed up in costumes. There were many people that came from Guatemala City and abroad, the streets were filled with trick-a-treaters who were having a great time on the streets of Antigua Guatemala or one of […]

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Images of the Feria de Jocotenango, Guatemala

Images of the Feria de Jocotenango by Nelo Mijangos

On August 15 Jocotenango in Sacatepequez and in Guatemala City celebrate their patron saint day; which is also the celebration town fair for Guatemala City. Here are some images of the town fair in Jocotenango, the municipality next to Antigua Guatemala.

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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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Raging Bulls and Aging Saints

Gathering in front of the church, Santa Cruz

Time for the annual fair in Santa Cruz la Laguna The feria in Santa Cruz la Laguna is one of a kind. No other Atitlán fair is more classical, more Guatemala-in-the-rough, and more “we’re-not-in-Kansas-anymore, Toto.” There are two Santa “Cruces”: the upper, traditional town and the lower, lakeside district; they are a twain that meet at fair time like they […]

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The Uaxactún Equinox

The Uaxactún Equinox (photo by Thor Janson)

The next major event in the Maya sacred calendar The kickoff for the 2012 cosmic events was the solstice party at the ancient ruins of Tikal. In attendance were dozens of Maya shaman dressed in ceremonial attire soberly attending to their prayer offerings of copal incense, sacred incantations and song, and the sacrifice of doves. The next major event in […]

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Día del Cariño

Día del Cariño

What distinguishes Día del cariño from the popularized Valentine’s Day celebrations is that in Central America the day is primarily about all relationships and those we care for, about letting friends know you care for them, assuring family and partners of your love for them. Gifts aren’t the most important thing—the emphasis here is on quality time instead and being with those you most care about.

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Shake Your Booty: Carnival in Mazatenango

There is the children’s parade in the morning, the parade of carnival floats, a horse parade and the wild nocturnal adult parade.

There are special moments when the sheer exuberance and joy of the human spirit, shining so brightly, transcend all the negative forces and we find ourselves walking on air! Another in a long list of Guatemala’s best-kept secrets is the fantastic annual Carnival of Mazatenango: an event virtually unknown to those outside the Pacific Coast region. I do not recommend […]

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Xela Fair has scope like none other in Guatemala

Xela feria 2011 (photo by Dave Fox)

Xela’s annual feria came to a close the weekend of Sept. 17-18, and it was everything Guatemala has come to expect from the nation’s premiere Independence Day celebration. Everything offered won’t be new to a traveler who’s at least trolled the occasional market: fruit and knick-knacks, dance troupes and shows, and carnival rides that may have been assembled with scrap […]

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Guatemala noisily celebrates its 190th birthday

Celebration in La Antigua Guatemala

Celebrating their nation’s 190th Independence Day, Guatemalans streamed into streets and central squares across the country on Thursday, Sept. 15, to enjoy parades, music, food and fireworks. Communities large and small marked the occasion with torch-bearing runners, drumbeats of school bands, concerts and speeches. Food vendors served a mouth-watering variety of dishes as locals and tourists alike joined the annual […]

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Red-letter Days

This month is doubly patriotic Brace for a double dose of patriotic fervor this month in Guatemala. In addition to the Sept. 11 national elections (see page 54), Guatemala celebrates its 190th Independence Day on Sept. 15 with ear-shattering fireworks, resounding drumbeats from marching bands, festive concerts and more. Guatemala is hardly alone in its jubilation this day—also celebrating their […]

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The Power of Guatemalan Roses

In May, the fancy for mothers turns to roses—which have more than meets the eye or nose. Not all plants sport flowers, but those that do use them to mate with others of their species. Appropriately, we use them to hail and express love, especially in February and May. Roses in particular are favored: red and burgundy roses in the […]

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Peace Corps volunteers honored at 50th anniversary celebrations

Hundreds of Peace Corps volunteers serving in Guatemala joined U.S. Ambassador Stephen G. McFarland and guests recently to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the global service organization. Nearly 500 volunteers, members of host families, Peace Corps staff and special guests gathered at the ambassador’s residence in Guatemala City on Friday, March 25, for the occasion, which included the swearing in […]

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Revelers turn heads at Antigua’s version of Mardi Gras

Costumed revelers — and at least one pimped-out piñata — provided Antigua’s down-sized but festive version of Mardi Gras on Fat Tuesday night at the second annual Antigua Masquerade Ball. An eye-catching assembly of plumed, beaked and beaded guests converged outside La Merced for a parade to the ruins of San José El Viejo, where the Venetian-style charity event was […]

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