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.

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:

Ingredients-
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
salt
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)

Preparation-
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.

Guatemalan Woman Showing Huipils

This is Lidia Lopez showing the many huipils she has and telling what village they came from.

Guatemalan Women Celebrating Holy Week, or ‘Semana Santa’

Women celebrating Semana Santa in Guatemala.

These women are celebrating ‘Semana Santa,’ or Holy Week in Antigua, Guatemala. Semana Santa is a Catholic celebration of the passion, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The entire city participates in the event. These women are dressed in traditional Mayan clothing called ‘traje.’ They are wearing ceremonial huipils (blouses) and they have ‘tzutes’ folded up on their heads.

Maria Wearing a Huipil and Holding Pineapple Cake

Woman in Traditional Dress With Pineapple Cake

Maria is showing off the beautiful (and tasty) pineapple upside down cake she baked. She is dressed in traditional Mayan clothing called ‘traje.’ Her pink top is called a huipil. Huipils are handmade and reflect the wearer’s personality and what village she is from.

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.

Guatemalan Woman and her Daughters Wearing Traditional Mayan Clothing

Girls Wearing Huipils.

This is a woman with her two young girls dressed in traditional Guatemalan clothing. The tops women wear are called huipils. They are made from panels of textiles handwoven on a backstrap loom. Each huipil is unique and decorated with intricate brocade designs.