What can you see in Guatemala: The enigmatic Mayan culture that still inhabits the highlands offers authentic experiences through unique religious syncretism. This syncretism is a mixture of the Catholic faith brought by the Spaniards and the Mayan beliefs that are present in the festivals and celebrations that natives develop during all year.

Major Festivals in Guatemala : Palo Volador. Performers test out their abilities to the Palo Volador throughout the festivity of their Saint; incredibly extra tall pine poles are consecrated and set up within the plaza for that ceremony. Pole dancers climb up in pairs to the top level via platforms and ropes, and then they rotate at the end of the lines dizzyingly (and alarmingly) down in terrific swooping circles. The ceremony’s roots should lay inside the Maya traditions of Yaxche, the tree of life. The places where celebrates El Palo Volador are: July 25th in Cubulco Baja Verapaz. Cubulco is located in Baja Verapaz 196 kms from Guatemala City (3 hours). August 15th in Joyabaj Quiche: Joyabaj is located 216 kms from Guatemala City, about 70 kms away from Chichicastenango

The Horse Race in Todos Santos Cuchumatanes Huehuetenango. The most popular event of the Todos Santos festival is the horse race. In the days previous the competition, the opponents celebrate, dancing, and ingest plenty of liquor. Additionally, they are attired with fancy clothes to make an impression of the spectator. The cause of the race dates back towards Spanish Conquest. The Spanish had not allowed the Mayas to ride horses. To show resistance to this particular rule, the people began this horse racing tradition. The community inside the Cuchumatanes Mountains is of Mam origins, and the natives commemorate this day by racehorses and feeding on the most traditional recipes peculiar to that day. The older Indians reveal that the traditional food of the day starts with a prayer, after which black tamale is consumed. Find additional information on Festival tours Guatemala.

More Guatemala attractions: The Lanquin Caves, northeast of Coban, are deep limestone caverns containing an underground river with various lagoons and unique rock formations. Visitors can tour a portion of the cave, which has some rugged walkways and low lighting. Thousands of bats make their home here and provide an interesting spectacle as they leave in a nightly mass exodus from the cave to feed in the nearby forest. Visitors who are interested in seeing this unique site should plan to tour the cave in the late afternoon and then hang around until sunset. A religious shrine is also contained within the caves, which are considered sacred by the local indigenous people.

Parque Central is the heart of Quetzaltenango, serving as the city center and a major local and cultural hub. The city is situated in between three massive volcanoes, offering a beautiful and primitive aura to the area. Sometimes shortened to Xela, the city is also home to Fuentes Georginas, the local natural sulfur springs. The city boasts multiple opportunities to explore local Mayan villages or to travel about a day’s journey to Laguna Chicabal, a sacred lake situated in the cloud forest and perhaps a visitor’s greatest chance of spotting a Quetzal bird in the wild. Read additional details at martsam.com.

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