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.
This is Lidia Lopez, a native Mayan woman from Guatemala, showing some of the textiles she has woven on a backstrap loom.
Lidia Lopez and her family demonstrate cooking a traditional Guatemalan meal called Pepian (also spelled Pipian.)
Lidia Lopez is an expert in backstrap loom weaving. Here she is showing the different patterns used on huipils from the different villages around Guatemala.
Women in Guatemala begin weaving by creating a ‘warp’ out of yarn. They wind the yarn around pegs on a warping board, crossing the strings in the middle to create a striped pattern. The warp is then attached to the bars of the loom and they are ready to begin the weaving process.
Lidia Lopez is teaching a class on how to weave on the backstrap loom.
This is JoAnn Paulsen at the Ixchel Museum of Indigenous Dress in Guatemala City, Guatemala.