Christmas in Guatemala

  Guatemala is a very diverse country with more than 20 ethnic groups. Each of them has their own special traditions for celebrating Christmas. On December 7th at 6pm an unusual customs called ‘La Quema del Diablo’ (The Burning of the Devil) takes place, where an effigy (model) of the devil/Satan burnt. The 8th December[…]

Volcanoes of Guatemala

“Three tectonic plates meet in Guatemala and the result is a wild and crazy adventure park with high and beautiful mountains, crater lakes and hundreds of volcanoes to form the spine of the country.” This is one of the best descriptions of Guatemala I have found was recently posted by Vanderbilt University archaeologist Arthur Demarest[…]

José Cecilio del Valle of Guatemala

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,[…]

A New History for La Antigua Guatemala

With the recent “discovery” of the “El Libro Segundo del Cabildo (1530-1541) de Santiago de Guatemala,” historians lit up with enthusiasm! Cover of the second book of Cabildo (1530-1541) de Santiago de Guatemala (courtesy of the Hispanic Society of America, New York) Guatemala’s historians continue to rewrite the past. With many libraries and collections now[…]

Rivers at Risk in Guatemala

Across the northern indigenous hinterlands of Guatemala people are up in arms. You may have heard about it. They are up in arms over the companies involved in damming and mining—particularly hydroelectric projects; over their questionable business practices; deficit of environmental concern; and lack of respect for community well-being and consent, putting rivers at risk.[…]

In the Markets

Every Guatemalan market is a treat for all five senses. No, that’s not right. Modern chain supermercados from Arkansas or Salvador are splendid for shoppers, but shrink-wrapped, boxed or processed foods in glass cases or on neatly organized shelves don’t give much smell, sight or taste, while the piped-in music and packaged goods miss sound[…]

Fiesta Time in La Antigua

La Antigua maintains its holiday in honor of St. James on July 25th, and the celebration begins now! by Elizabeth Bell. It’s fiesta time again in La Antigua Guatemala! July 25th is our patron saint’s day—St. James—as the city was founded as Santiago de Guatemala. St. James was an apostle, the conquerors’ patron saint and[…]

A New Breed of Guatemalan Millennials

As a new generation of young adults we’ve glimpsed at how we can bring our experiences and knowledge back to Guatemala. I was born in Guatemala in 1996, the same year the Guatemalan Peace Accords were signed, ending its 36-year civil war with some 200,000 civilians dead or disappeared. I spent a couple of summers[…]

Don Lipe – The Butcher

Depending on how accustomed you are to life in La Antigua, you may have stopped buying meat from a particular distributor or specialty shop and may have begun to visit the municipal market and buy from the butchers’ stalls there. For the families who’ve lived in the center of town (and some of them still[…]

The Pilgrim Fountain

As you walk into the Franciscan monastery of this colonial town (otherwise known as the ruins of San Francisco), you might have the impression as you walk through the patio of the first set of cloisters that something is missing. If you really look at the space and the shape of the patio it’s easy to[…]