Highlands of Guatemala
Only in Guatemala the world was created in 23 different ways. There are 23 languages and 23 different words for God. Here, woman using magic threads of every color of the rainbow spin, weave and embroider more than 500 different native costumes. Many fertility goddesses bring light and strength to the flowers, the stars, and also to the beautiful creatures of the jungle in Guatemala.
In Guatemala beauty pursues the traveler at every corner. Quiches, Mams, Tzutujils and Cakchiquels, men with elated heart, work with malleable damp clay, powerful jade or wood from forest. The concepts colors and shapes they produce in their ancient art are astonishing. On simple blackstrap or pedal looms, the women weave history with their wool and cotton threads creating huipiles and other fine textiles.
From the step rocky mountain paths to the depths of the gorges, where freshwater springs tumble down from the highest mountains, Guatemala’s pine forest rise impressively to meet the sky. In the pale, light of fawn, mist sinks softly over the volcanoes like a veil, enshrouding peaks and crags. Behind them, the sun’s first rays of light come filtering through, like golden spears behind sheer curtains. The mist drifts away to the shores of Lake Chicabal, in a volcanic crater, settling on the last white patch of moonlight, escaping the ardor of the pursuing sun. Age-old winds in the highlands make carving in the rocks, so that travelers may decipher the craggy formations of Momostenango.
Thursday and Sundays are market days in Chichicastenango. People from nearby areas bring their fruits, flowers and seeds, handicrafts, dresses and shawls to sell. Little by little the market surrounds St. Tomas Church like a labyrinth. At sundown, the rituals begin. Prayers are said while incense sends the messages up to their beloved gods.
Chichicastenango is a colorful place with the sound of different dialects, with different articles to sale: impeccably handmade handicrafts, singular clothing, exotic tasting food and praises to a non-forsaking god.
San Antonio Aguas Calientes
The town is just 15 minutes away from the city of Antigua Guatemala, it’s known for its handmade weaving, a tradition dating back to colonial times. Life in San Antonio Aguas Calientes keeps pace to the weavers, whose hands give shape to huipiles, tzutes, tapestries, and small rooms of traditional design and bright colors, make with the skill of their ancestors.
In San Antonio, they also make straws dolls, huge kites, paintings by different techniques and wooden masks, used for many Guatemalan native dances.
Here live the inheritors of color and form. In fact, here in Totonicapan, the mestizo art was born from the fusion between the Spanish and the Maya, has truly flourished. Glazed or painted ceramics, textiles made on foot looms, toys and cajetas, many colored boxes, all testify to the mastery of the artisans who live here.
Also here you can find the famous “Ponchos” of Momostenago, artistic heavy wool blankets or rug woven on large foot looms. Close there are two more towns: San Francisco el Alto, which has a picturesque market every Friday, and San Andres Xecul, who’s Church has a polychrome façade resembling the weave of their huipil.