Guatemalan Woman Teaching Backstrap Loom Lesson

Lidia Lopez is an expert in backstrap loom weaving. Here she teaches visitors how to weave in her home in Guatemala. Weaving on a backstrap loom is truly an art form, and it takes many years of practice. Maya women teach their children to weave from a very early age so they have a trade they can depend on in order to support their families in the future.

Lidia Lopez Teaching the Art of Backstrap Loom Weaving

Lidia Lopez is a Mayan woman from Guatemala. She is very experienced weaving on a backstrap loom and teaches people from around the world the art of weaving. Here she is demonstrating the technique she uses to a group of visiting Americans and Japanese women.

Lidia Lopez Demonstrating the Backstrap Loom Method of Weaving

Lidia Lopez is a Mayan woman who lives in San Antonio Aguas Calientes, Guatemala. Here she is demonstrating the backstrap loom, a method of weaving Maya Indians have used for centuries to create beautiful textiles. She not only teaches visitors how to weave, she also dedicates most of her time teaching the children in Guatemala. Weaving is important to the Mayan culture because it is the method used to make the peoples’ traditional clothing, called traje. Also, it is a source many Guatemalan women rely on to support their families financially.

A Guatemalan Family Cooking Pepian & Making Tortillas

This is a great example of a traditional Guatemalan household. The people in the video are Lidia Lopez and her family from San Antonio Aguas Calientes making Pepian and tortillas. They are dressed in ‘traje’ which is traditional clothing Mayan women have worn for centuries. This household is very indicative of many of the homes in Guatemala today.

San Francisco de Panajachel Feria (Fair in Panajachel)

‘Feria’ is a time when Guatemalans and visitors alike come to Panajachel to celebrate and enjoy the gorgeous scenery. Some come to enjoy Lake Atitlan, and others find it a great opportunity to sell their goods at market. It is an exciting time for locals and schools let out when the fair takes over the town. There are performers dressed in costume, carnival rides, fireworks, parades, and even religious rituals performed in front of the Catholic church in honor of St. Francis of Assisi.

‘Feria de Panajachel’ A Festival in Panajachel, Guatemala

As Catholocism began to merge with the Maya culture and religion, many of the towns in Guatemala were renamed after the different Saints. Panajachel became ‘San Francisco de Panajachel.’ Saint Francis of Assisi is the patron saint of Pana. Over 300 towns have ‘ferias’ or festivals to celebrate the Saint who watches over their town, each with a different character. Some of the festivities in Panajachel’s feria include parade processions of the statues of St. Francis and his helper saints. Most of these processions, along with folkloric dances, concerts, performances, and other religious ceremonies are held in the plaza directly in front of the Catholic church. Along with the religious aspect, there are many other activities to celebrate during the festival. There are rides, fireworks, sporting events, dances, parties, and a beauty contest, which are very popular among the Guatemalan people. They beauty contestants are judged on not only their beauty, but their knowledge of Guatemalan culture and Mayan traditions.

Ixchel Museum of Indigenous Dress in Guatemala City, Guatemala

This is a museum dedicated to the indigenous dress of the Mayan people of Guatemala. It shows the history of weaving textiles and how the tradition dates back hundreds of years. Although times have changed, the art of backstrap loom weaving has survived and is prevalent in the Guatemalan culture today. It is important to the Maya heritage and to each individual’s social and ethnic identity. The woman standing at the top of the steps in this video is JoAnn Paulsen, founder of

Lidia Lopez from Guatemala and Her Family Making Tortillas

This is a Mayan family in San Antonio Aguas Calientes, Guatemala. Lidia Lopez and her sisters are making tortillas to accompany a traditional meal called Pepian (also spelled Pipian.) In Guatemala, corn is served with almost every meal, often in the form of tortillas. Not only is corn commonly grown by families in rural areas, the people of Guatemala have a special relationship with corn dating back centuries. According to traditional Maya religion, the gods first made men out of mud, then wood. But neither material worked. Finally men were created from corn, and some Mayan people today still believe their flesh was once made from corn.

Lidia Lopez & her Family Making a Traditional Guatemalan Meal: Pepian/Pipian

In Guatemala cooking is a family affair. Here is Lidia Lopez and her family making a traditional meal called Pepian. It is generally reserved for weddings or ceremonies and is served with rice and home made tortillas.

Pepian Recipe:

2 oz. Green Squash Seeds (Pepitoria)
2 oz. Sesame Seeds
1.5 inch cinnamon stick, broken in pieces
4-5 Roma tomatos, whole
2 oz. tomatillos
1/2 dried Guaque chile
1/2 dried Pasa chile
10 peppercorns
2 lbs. chicken, cut into pieces
1 1/2 liters water
2-3 hot dog buns (in Guatemala they use 3 pieces of ‘pan frances’ which look like hot dog buns)

Place chicken pieces in a large pot with about 1 1/2 liters of water. Cover and simmer approx. 20 mins. until chicken is done and broth is golden in color.

Dry roast the sesame seeds until slightly browned. Let them cool and do the same with the squash seeds.

Place the tomatos, cinnamon, tomatillos, and chiles on a flat, non-teflon metal roasting plate (in Guatemala they call this a ‘comal’) on a burner (preferably gas) and allow everything to roast and blacken slightly, turning occasionally so everything roasts evenly.

Pour the roasted sesame and squash seeds into a blender until finely ground, approx. 30 seconds. Add the roasted cinnamon, and peppercorns and blend for another 30 seconds. Add the wet ingredients (tomatos, tomatillos, chilies) and pieces of ‘pan frances’ (bread) and about 1 cup chicken broth. Blend until mixture is smooth, adding chicken broth or bread until the sauce is the right consistency. It should drip slowly from the spoon.

Heat a pan with a bit of oil. Remove the chicken pieces from the broth and fry for about 5 mins. or until golden in color. Place the chicken into a big pot and pour in the ‘recado’ from the blender. Simmer for about 10 mins, the sauce will darken. Add a few pinches of salt to taste. If sauce is too thin, cook a bit longer. If it is too thick, stir in more chicken broth.

Chicken is served topped with the ‘recado’ and sprinkled with remaining sesame seeds for garnish and rice and tortillas on the side.

Rice Preparation-
Brown the rice kernels, diced onion, and garlic in a bit of butter and oil. Add water (2:1 ratio water to rice) and chopped vegetables. Salt to taste. Simmer until water is absorbed.

Lidia Lopez Showing Textiles she has Woven and Telling a Little About Herself and her Background.

Lidia Lopez is a Mayan woman from San Antionio Aguas Calientes, Guatemala. She has been weaving all her life and now teaches children in Guatemala the art of weaving on a backstrap loom. She also teaches at universities around the world.