Central America, Spring ^10

January 31, 2010

Weekend in Chichicastenango

Filed under: Uncategorized — samanthabass @ 11:43 pm

We visited the town of Chichicastenango this weekend. The town is about two hours away from Xela and is famous for the largest indigenous market in Central America. Next to the market is the Church of Santo Tomas. The church is 400 years old and was built directly on top of a Mayan temple.  Today Maya priests still use the chuch for their ceremonies and burn incense and candles on the steps. The mass combines both Catholic and Mayan practices, and the priests speak in both K’iche’ and Spanish.

On Saturday morning we visited the weaving cooperative Ruth and Naomi, located about a half hour outside of Chichicastenango. The cooperative was formed by a group of widows after their husbands were killed in the Civil War. With the help of the Methodist chuch, they organized and purchased materials to begin making goods. Now they sell their work overseas through the fair-trade organization 10,000 Villages and also bring their work to the market.

Saturday afternoon we visited the church where some of the widow´s sons work in Chichicastenango sewing together fabrics. The men showed us how to operate the sewing machine and sew together a bag.

This morning we went to mass at the Church of Santo Tomas. The ceremony is very unique because it is one of the few churches where both Mayan and Catholic spiritual practices are so integrated. There was also marimba music, which is very popular in Guatemala.

After mass we walked around the market a little, which was very overwhelming since people were shouting at us in all directions. The market is most famous for embroidered textiles, but has other things such as CDs, sneakers, American clothes, food, etc. Tourists come to buy things, but Guatemalans also go to the market for clothes and food.


1 Comment »

  1. Hi Samantha,

    I am so looking forward to seeing all the treasures you found in the market. Sounds like you had a wonderful weekend. Your Spanish must really be kicking into high gear. I am home, between trips, and head to Orlando in the morning, which should be nice because it was very cold at hime this weekend. Have a great week and keep the adventures coming. We enjoy your blog very much and know grandma and grandpa do to and have also forwarded it to others in the family.

    Comment by Mark Bass — February 1, 2010 @ 3:22 am

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