Celebrate in December

Portada final, JPEGWhile last month’s magazine focused on the Guatemalan tradition of commemorating one’s relatives that have passed into the great beyond, this month’s magazine has a more upbeat theme as we focus on the many celebrations of December.

Many Guatemalans will tell you that December is their favorite month of year (and that isn’t because they love Chanukah). Christmas and related celebrations are a big deal here- but you probably already figured that out since you’ve been seeing Christmas related paraphernalia for 2 months now. With special foods (tamales de arroz), special drinks (hot fruit punch), and special parties (posadas), it is a special time of year.

For those of you from places where snow is a holiday tradition, during this season Xela is the best place to be in Guatemala as it actually gets chilly enough at night (down to freezing some nights) to make you feel like it’s Christmas time. The most disappointing thing about the holidays here, aside from Spanish covers of all your favorite holiday songs (though the marimba versions are pretty awesome), are the lack of real Christmas trees.

Given the problems caused by deforestation in many areas of nation, one has to respect the restriction on the sale of real evergreen trees (while wondering at the same time why this seems to be most effectively enforced law in the country). If you’re pining (sorry) for a tree for your celebration, then there are many plastic options available, including some that come pre-decorated (a real time saver for you last minute shoppers).

But if you want to see an impressive tree related spectacle then make the trip out to Templo de Minerva (next to La Terminal market in Zone 3) to see the giant specimen that graces this month’s cover. At 40 meters it is the tallest fake tree in the Department, with only many hundreds of real trees that are taller. And from the division of more useless facts, it is complete with 19,496 lights (which for the first time are LEDs this year) and 125 ornaments (including 45 stars). It took a mere 85 employees from our favorite beer monopoly to put it together- so no complaining if the bar runs out of beer, the brewers have been busy with more important duties.

Ok, now go celebrate.

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