Latin America Travel & Tour Information
Chichicastenango Travel Information
In Chichicastenango you won´t be sure how but your steps will lead you straight to the main square. A deep silence dominates the area around the church of Santo Tomás, where the silhouette of a chamán (sorcerer) comes into view. The scene draws your attention, you know you are about to witness a Mayan ritual. You get closer, careful not to make any noises and for a long moment you forget your camera and linger there, mesmerized.
This town located to the northeast of Guatemala City, embodies the syncretism of catholic and Mayan traditions. Inside the Temple of Santo Tomás it is easy to see all of this and hold your breath before the overwhelming religious-cultural performance. You may partake in the mystical ceremony in your own way, just buy a candle or some incense on the church´s stairs.
Outside the church, life goes on with the typical dynamic of the Guatemalans. One of the best examples lies in the activity of the famous local market, frequented by black jet-hair women, wearing colorful outfits and carrying children on their backs.
Colors live in everything: the houses, the clothes, the fruits and vegetables on exhibit in the market, even in the cemetery. Yes, tradition goes that tombs and obelisk be painted in different colors, each of them carries a meaning according to whom might be burried there. This way, blue is related to mothers, white for fathers, pink for girls, light blue for boys and yellow for oldies.
The Pascual Abaj Museum that treasures valuable Mayan relics, lies in between the cemetery and the hill that overlooks Chichicastenango. Moving on to the hill, there is an ancient, still visited altar. It is the a sacred site named Turcaj, where most of the ancient ceremonies took place.