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.

Guatemalan Sweet Bread and Baked Goods

Guatemalan Sweet Bread

Guatemala is known to have excellent breads and baked goods.

Guatemalan Women Dressed in Traditional Mayan ‘Traje’

Traditional Maya Clothing in Guatemala Called 'Traje'

Woman in Guatemala have passed down their traditional dress called ‘traje’ for centuries. The tops are called ‘huipils’ and the skirts are ‘cortes’. The Mayan culture has used the same techniques of weaving textiles for generations and continue to do so today. The intricate brocade decor on the huipils varies slightly from village to village, but the patterns and their meanings have not changed since the classic Maya period. Not only is traje an important component of the Guatemalan culture, the tradition of weaving provides a viable income for the weavers and artisans who make these textiles to provide for their families.

Guatemalan Women Wearing ‘Tzutes’ and Holding Candles

Guatemalan Women With Tzutes

Tzutes are an important part of Mayan traditional dress. They are worn by both women and men and serve many purposes. They can be used as a shawl, for carrying babies or goods, covering food, or even for ceremonial purposes. Often you will see them folded up and worn on the head as to protect the wearer from the sun and so it is readily available to use if needed. Just like huipils, the tzute can help identify the user’s village by the bright colors and patterns. They are hand woven and vary in size and length.