Guatemala — Festivals and Events
Guatemala has a long Mayan history and culture, but the Spanish influence means it remains a Roman Catholic country. For this reason, many of its annual festivals are linked to religion and in true Latin American spirit, they are a spectacle to behold, a favorite being Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). Often times events are merged with indigenous and uniquely Guatemalan culture, such as Semana Santa. Or for Mayan only festivals, there is the Coban Folklore Festival or Mayan New Year.
Coffee Harvest Celebration
Guatemala is a world-famed exporter of high quality coffee, and every February the town of Frajianes celebrates the arrival of the harvest. There are many great processions through the town with food and dancing on the 2nd and 4th.
Easter holy week takes place in March or April depending on the Christian calendar, and celebrations take place all around Guatemala. During the events, you will see Mayan traditions mixed with Catholicism.
Coban Folklore Festival
This annual festival takes place every year in late July or early August, and is known locally as Rabin Ajau. The town is located in the highlands, surrounded by cloud forests and coffee plantations, and exports cardamom and other spices. It showcases the indigenous traditions through music and dance, and a Mayan beauty queen is selected from various hopefuls.
Dia de la Asuncion
This annual festival celebrates the day of assumption on August 15 in Joyabaj. You will see the palo volador which features men swinging upside down from poles.
Dia de los Muertos
Literally translating to “Day of the Dead,” this popular Latin America festival is celebrated all over Guatemala on November 2 with the flying of kites in Santiago Sacatepéquez and wild horse racing in Todos Santos Cuchumatán. Be sure to sample fiambre, a local dish which is only served on this day.
Mayan New Year
The Mayan calendar only consisted of 260 days so the date of New Years varies. During the gathering, you will celebrate Mayan life and renewal at many of the sacred sites around Guatemala.