Images of Guatemala – No 2.


Images of Guatemala.

I’ve met this lady on a previous trip, she features in the Destination Craft Show on PBS.

She sits in the square near the church and for a small fee ill demonstrate how to wrap the head gear. The red hand woven strip is about 10 feet long and the colored part on the end sits on the outside of the weave. It’s fascinating to watch her do it. I saw a number of older women with this head attire, but mostly they just wore a cloth or ribbon covering.




The cemetery in Chichicastenango.

Away from the town center of Chichicastenango, Guatemala, on a hill that is rarely touched by tourists, one of the most colorful cemeteries in the world is hidden in plain sight. Steeped in Mayan tradition, the vibrant rainbow of pigments celebrates the afterlife, and can symbolize different family roles, like a color-coded clue to the puzzle of the dead.

Featuring rows upon rows of painted crosses and tall mausoleums, the Chichicastenango Cemetery is a perfect example of Guatemala’s brighter outlook on burials. In a town where the majority of the population is indigenous Mayan K’iche, the cemetery is also the home to a variety of rituals on Day of the Dead, including incense, alcohol, and the occasional chicken as offerings to the deceased.

Many tombs are colored based on the person’s family status. Tombs may be painted white to represent purity; graves of mothers are painted turquoise for protection; grandfathers are marked in yellow to indicate that the golden sun will protect humanity. Other graves break this more traditional mold, painted in lime green or red or the favorite color of the deceased.











Mayan Ceremonies


We watched a Mayan ceremony. There were candles, with each color representing specific ideals.  Each color can have more than one meaning, and the meaning is open to individual interpretation rather than one strict meaning.

White: North – purity, light, love, calm and tranquility

Yellow; South – energy of life, health, protection

Black; West – push away bad energy, negativity, and illness

Red; East – love, passion, energy, and to take sadness away.  The fire element it is an activator and catalyzer

Blue; heaven, rain, happiness, inner vision and revelations of our dreams

Green; hope, success, abundance

Purple; push away bad thoughts and illness, a true healer

Flowers, incense, food, tobacco, and alcohol can be offered as gifts to the Gods to give them reason to listen to us.  As the fire burns, your thoughts, prayers, and mediations are lifted up in the smoke to be carried to the heavens.  Your negative energy is released, and our positive energy is empowered.

It was fascinating and mystical at the same time.


5 Comments Add yours

  1. Pamela armas says:

    Enjoy d your re-cap of the Mayan ceremony. It was very touching and the explanation of th colors very informative.

    1. Pam Holland says:

      It was really fascinating Pam

  2. Wendy in Kennewick says:

    Are the Mayan ceremonies held regularly or for special occasions? It really does look fascinating. Thank you for brightening the world by sharing your colorful explorations!

    1. Pam Holland says:

      I think the ceremonies we saw were continuous.

  3. glendajean says:

    Pam your beautiful elegant lady in the second photo I can see in one of your art quilts soon? Such a beautiful face amazing soft looking skin and oh those eyes?????? It was so interesting seeing her wind her head piece, she must have done that a 1000 times or more, thanks for sharing your wonderful moments in time, how I love to drop in and see the travels with you Cheers Glenda

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