By Evan Sing.
Do you already know how it is celebrated the Guatemalan way?
When I had the opportunity to speak with Marvin Bámaca and Walter Vail, two Guatemalans from the Bay Area, I learned a lot about a beautiful tradition that I was completely unaware of. In this short article, I want to share their stories, as well as that of a great custom from their country, Holy Week.
As I spoke with Marvin and Walter, I was struck by the enthusiasm and generosity with which they both shared their love for their country.
Marvin's story begins in northern Guatemala, where he grew up in an environment of two cultures, that of the Mam and that of the Spanish, and it is particular to this region that people often travel to Mexico.
Marvin tells me that he has been in the United States for less than a year, but, despite the short time, one of the celebrations that he keeps with great affection in his memory is Holy Week, a memory that he shares with Walter.
This rich tradition is celebrated every spring in Guatemala. During this special week, they build and carry a large doll called Judas on the street, which they take to each house to ask for offerings in exchange for a blessing or for dancing and singing. Throughout the week, all the people in the town celebrate together in the street.
At the end of this celebration of coexistence, they burn the doll in the center of the city and the coins that were inside the doll fall out. If you collect one of these coins, you will have good luck in the future! And if you collect the ash, which is spread in the pens to bless the chickens, they will have good health against diseases that may be common in this area.
Sure, there are details and regional differences that I couldn't include, but, without a doubt, this Holy Week makes me want to visit and celebrate Guatemalan!
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