P o p p i n g
Don´t Miss These
November is shaping up to be a fantastic month for culture in Xela.
On the 8th, one of Guatemala´s biggest bands, Malacates Trebol Shop, will be playing at Salcaja (a town about 15 minutes away from Xela). You can get tickets for this from déjà vu cocktail bar in Xela. For those that would fancy something a bit more alternative, there is also a metal music festival happening the same day.
Later in the month, on the 22nd, we also have the Alianza Francesa´s famous Xela en Musica festival, which you can be sure will have a whole host of great bands to enjoy.
And for the artists & designers out there, Ciudad de la Imaginación is holding a week long Experimental Design Space, with lots of interesting courses & workshops. Check out our events pages for details.
F lo p p i n g
Chaos on the Roads
Reading El Quetzalteco during October felt like watching one long advert for safe driving, where they show you in all the gory details what can happen if you fail to abide by the rules of the road and drive like a tit instead.
In the first 15 days of October alone, Xela´s volunteer fire brigade said that they had been called out to no less than 30 road accidents, causing 8 deaths and numerous hospitalizations due to failing breaks, drink driving and reckless driving in general. They stated that, on average, there are between 30 and 75 accidents on the road each month in Xela. In just 8 months 49 people have died in road tragedies in Quetzaltenango alone.
Despite all these needless deaths, people (including the police) still turn a blind eye to maniac chicken bus drivers, shrug it off when they themselves break every road rule in the book or drive vehicles that could fail on them at any moment, and laugh about it when they drive home too drunk to even walk. Just exactly how many people need to die before the population starts to say “Enough already!”?
Day of the Dead
On the first of November Guatemala, along with many other countries across Latin America and the world, celebrates its famous El Dia de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead) holiday.
Despite being a somewhat sombre affair meant for families and friends to remember their loved ones that have passed away, as with any national holiday in Guatemala it is also a beautiful and colourful one. At the very least, make sure you pop down to the Cementerio in El Calvario at some point during the day for a wander around to absorb all of the beautiful colours that the thousands of flower arrangements that families from all over the city bring to the graves of their loved ones and ancestors buried there.
But, if you have the time and aren’t too hungover from your Halloween party, we recommend heading on down to the town of Santiago Sacatepéquez, just outside of Antigua for El Día de los Muertos. Here the cemetery bears witness to a spectacular display of enormous (up to 15 metres in diameter), colourful kites that are made especially for the day and then released into the sky. The barriletes gigantes are flown as a symbolic communication between the living and the dead, attracting the spirits of ancestors to earth in order to reunite family members with the spirits of their loved ones and ancestors.
And of course, no Guatemalan holiday would be complete without an enormous amount of food prepared just for the occasion. For November 1st it’s the famous fiambre: a huge salad of vegetables & meats that can be made up from over 50 different ingredients. Most families have their own unique recipe, passed down from generation to generation.