Nothing sums up Guatemala’s spirit and colour quite like it’s festivals! From indigenous spectacles to unique Saint day celebrations, Guatemala showcases it’s rich history through it’s festivals. Here’s 5 festivals to feast your eyes on:
All Saints Day in Todos Santos Cuchumatán
Todos Santos Cuchumatán celebrates the feast of All Saints in a very unique way! Held on the 1st-2nd November, the festivities begin with a horse race, where the riders put on their finest attire. After every lap is completed, the riders dismount their horses and drink a beer, which quickly brings on a party atmosphere! Also enjoy the famous Fiambre, a Guatemalan dish eaten only during these 2 days of the year. Recipe can be found here!
Dates: 1st – 2nd November
Semana Santa in Antigua (Guatemala)
Easter week (Semana Santa) in the Guatemalan city of Antigua bursts with colour and festivity. Luxorious alfombras (Arabic word for carpets) adorn the cobbled streets between processions. This tradition dates back to the 16th century and was meant to ease walking on the uneven cobblestone streets. Families and friends prepare months ahead of the festival to create these beautiful offerings, made of dyed sawdust and pine needles.
Dates: Holy Week takes place sometime between March 22nd and April 23rd
Fiesta de Santo Tomás in Chichicastenango (Guatemala)
The quaint market village of Chichicastenango celebrates it’s patron saint in a daring way. The streets swarm with spectators gathering to watch ‘palo valador‘ dancers ascend wooden poles as high as 30 metres. The agile dancers then leap off the structures, using ropes hanging at the top of the poles. A death-defying religious spectacle!
Dates: 13-21 December
Coffee Harvest Celebration in Fraijanes (Guatemala)
The town of Fraijanes is known for it’s fine tasting coffee, and comes alive with the arrival of the coffee harvest. Beginning with the procession of the Virgen de Candelaria and finishing with the celebration of El Sagrado Corazon de Jesus, you can expect to witness an abundance of mouth-watering food, traditional music, and of course plenty of coffee drinking!
Dates: February 2nd – 4th
Folkloric Festival in Cobán (Guatemala)
The Folkloric festival in the mountainous city of Cobán is an impressive celebration of Kekchis Indian tradition. The streets brim with dancing and performances by the indigenous Kekchis, dressed in traditional costumes. For many, the highlight of the festival is the crowning of the beauty pageant queen. The competition can last for 4 days and is accompanied by folklore singing groups and parades that display Guatemala’s cultural heritage.