Cultural - HOME

In Guatemala you will find that there are special folkloric festivals all year long. Because of the integration of Mayan Culture and Catholic traditions, many of these folkloric instances are unique in the American Continent. We would like to invite you to visit Guatemala during these particular festivals in order to live a once in a lifetime experience.  The following chart provides a calendar of festival days. The most important days are noted with an asterisk. *

The Maya Sacred Calendar is based on their 260 Day ritual Calendar. Events change yearly. Contact us for specific days.

Jan 1-15*
Catholic Pilgrimage to Esquipulas
Feb 1-12 / 4* Celebrations for Candelaria Virgin in Suchitepéquez
March 15-21/ 19* Regional Holiday in Morales, Izabal
March / April Easter week
May all month Regional holiday to the "Sacre coeur" in Comitancillo, San Marcos
May 1-7
Regional holiday in Amatitlán
May 3*
Celebrations and processions of Virgin Mary on the Lake
June 21-25 / 24* Regional holiday to honor Saint John the Baptist,Olintepeque Quetzaltenango
July 31-06 National Folkloric Festival and Indian beauty contest RABIN-AJAU and PRINCESS TESULUTLAN Coban
Aug 22-28 / 28* Regional festival in honor to Saint Agustin
Sept 9-17 / 15* Independence day in Quetzaltenango,Totonicapan and San Francisco El Alto
Oct 1-6 / 4* Regional Folkloric Festival to Honor Saint Francis of Asis
Oct 21- 1 Nov* All Saints Day in Todo Santos, Huehuetenango
Nov 1  Kites flying in Sacatepequez
Dec 13-21 / 15* Regional festivities in honor to Santo Tomas, the patron of Chichicastenango

Easter Week clic for trips
Semana Santa, or Easter week in Guatemala is one of the most colorful times to visit the country and to admire the religious and Indian folkloric traditions on display in different regions of Guatemala. The best place to be during Holy Week is La Antigua Guatemala.

Other Indian villages with colorful folklore traditions are, Xela, Huehuetenango and Totonicapán, in which the passion of Christ is reenacted live by a regional council of Indians who restage the events that happened on Holy Wednesday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday. Holy Week in Guatemala represents a conjunction of Catholic beliefs and of pagan Indian rites in the more picturesque regions of our highlands. We invite you to come and admire our beautiful processions and flower and colored sawdust carpets. We recommend arriving in Guatemala the Friday before Holy Wednesday and to stay for at least one week after Easter Sunday to have time to visit the major archaeological sites in the Petén area (you can also take an extension to visit the beaches in Belize). Please be aware that in Antigua, only full-week packages are available, all-day excursions are scheduled to the major villages of interest, such as Chichicastenango, Lake Atitlán, etc. (top)

National Folkloric Festival of the "Rabin Auhau" and election of the Indian Princess Tesulutan in Coban, Alta Verapaz.

The festivities that take place in the city of Cobán during the Folkloric Festival of the Rabin Ajau and the election of the Princess Tesulutlán are the single most impressive festivals of Indian traditions in Guatemala. The villages of Alta Verapaz are among the lesser known in terms of tourism and yet they are among the most picturesque and rich in folklore. The terrain is quite broken and it gives the region varied climates, as well as outstandingly beautiful scenery. In some of the towns in Alta Verapaz, especially Cobán and San Pedro Carchá, many of the ancestral celebratory traditions are preserved, particularly the religious festivity of the Paabanc. This special traditional dance is performed throughout this region by the local Indians, the Kekchis, who manifest the perpetuation of their traditions and costumes. During this festival, it is possible to observe and admire traditional food and dances. These are celebrations that are not to be missed. Other places of interest to visit while in Cobán and that are included in our complete program are the "Lanquín Caves" the Nature Reserve of Semuc Champey, the village of San Pedro Carchá, and the Cahabón River, on which we could arrange for a five-day rafting tour that ends in Rio Dulce. (top)


All Saints Day in Huehuetenango, and Santiago Sacatepequez.

November 1st is one of the most important days of the year in Guatemala. On this day we celebrate the Day of the Dead. It is a celebration in which cemeteries are visited and decorated in memory of loved ones. It is a union of ancient pagan beliefs and of the Catholic traditions brought over by the Spaniards in the XVI and XVII centuries.

On this day two major celebrations take place "the horse races in Todos Santos, Huehuetenango," and the flying of giant kites in Santiago Sacatepéquez.

The village of Santiago Sacatepéquez is of Cakchiquel origin, and is located 30 Km from La Antigua Guatemala. From the early morning hours, the people in this village gather in the narrow streets and begin their procession to the local cemetery. Once there, they take part in one of the most colorful traditions of Guatemala, flying giant kites to communicate with their loved ones who have passed away. The celebration takes place in the local cemetery, and it ends with a sumptuous lunch and a traditional dish called "fiambre." The giant kites are around 2 meters in diameter, and have small messages tied to their tails in which the villagers let their dead know how they are doing and ask God for special favors.

The celebration in Todos Santos, Huehuetenango, takes another perspective. This isolated village in the Cuchumatanes mountains is of Man origin, and the Indians celebrate this day by racing horses and eating the most traditional dishes peculiar to that day. The oldest Indians tell us that the traditional meal of this day begins with a prayer and then a black tamale is eaten. (top)

Celebration of Santo Tomas, the Patron of Chichicastenango  
During the year, Chichicastenango is home to the most outstanding market in Latin America. Every Thursday and Sunday the Indians gather at the main plaza to sell their wares. But every December the celebrations in this Quiche village take on even greater proportions. Come and admire the rare change of Cofradias and how the Indians commemorate their mythological gods and the Christian god. Admire the Palo Volador, in which the Indians fly around a high pole in the central plaza, suspended by nothing more than a rope. We invite you to come and celebrate these festivities. (top)


Cofradia procession - Maya Expeditions !

Clic here to print this page Click to print this page