Tuesday, March 8, 2011


A busy market

On Sunday we took a bus over the river and through the woods to Chichicastenango - called "Chichi" for short.  In Guatemala, the "-tenango" means "the place of" and is added to the end of many town names.  In this case, the Chichicas means "nettles" - thus "the place of the nettles."

Chichi has the reputation for having the biggest market - in Guatemala, Central America or the world, depending on who you listen to.  It certainly is big.  There are a lot of tourists and touristy things at the market - but also a lot of locals and locally things.  We especially liked wandering into the chicken/duck/turkey market (live, of course).  And the dried corn market.  And the chalk market - sold by the pound and used to pulverize the corn.

Flowers for sale for Mayan rituals

Traditional Guatemalan dress
The other interesting thing about Chichi is the harmonious mix between the ancient Mayan religion and the Catholicism brought by the Spaniards.  It's in an indigenous area where the Mayan influence and religion is strong.  The local Catholic hierarchy was able to accommodate them.  On Sunday morning we could see Mayan priests performing their rituals outside the church after Mass.  They even built raised areas inside the church where the faithful can burn candles and incense for the Mayan gods.  And the incense is thick.  Unfortunately, we were uanble to get any pictures, but our memories are vivid. Very refreshing to see two religions co-existing.

On the steps of the Cathedral

Selling chalk

Dried corn market

Anyone want a basket of turkeys?

A woman selling chickens - what a wonderful face.

1 comment:

  1. Oooooh, I am catching up on your adventures. I would LOVE to see that market. I am making my way (slowly) around Houston's farmer's markets. What is the chalk used for?

    Yes, indeed. Quite the rarity seeing two religions co-exist.