Celebrating the New Year in Guatemala   By Ron Slone

Spanish for Kids Hispanic Holidays


Año Nuevo


el fuego - fire


la vela - candle


el lago - lake

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Following the Mayan Tradition in Guatemala

Did you know that Guatemalans sometimes choose
to celebrate the Mayan New Year because
of their history and geography?
The traditional celebration is important because
it was a ritual observed by
the ancestors of modern-day Mayans,
a civilization that was once spread across central and
south Mexico
into the Yucatan and swaths of Central
America. The Mayan
year has 360 calendar days that make
up 18 months
consisting of 20 days each (6 extra months than
our regular year!).
There is an additional 19th month of only
5 days called Wayeb. Mayans had specific
rituals to be executed during these nameless
days. Mayans also called these extra days as
"time out of time". It was time
to be thankful for the fortunes of the previous year and look
forward to the positive energy of the next Mayan year.
During this period there are Mayan fire ceremonies,
sunrise and sunset ceremonies, and mid-day ceremonies
that take place around the Lake Atitlan (Lago de Atitlán).


Guatemalan Modern New Year Traditions
Of course, Guatemalans celebrate the regular New Year you're used to on January 1st, too! Guatemalans celebrate with lively music, colorful costumes and fireworks. Locals wear new clothes which is hoped to bring good luck for the coming year and then gather in the center of each town before the street parties begin.

Watch this video to see what it's like!

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Popular Phrase: spanish house vocabulary games | Spanish language schools | Conjugated Verb: sazonar - to season [ click for full conjugation ]

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