Question: If La casa de Los Abuelitos has already a red lantern signaling that they sell tamales, then why on earth would they also put sign stating the obvious?
Short answer: Because they are also selling tamales negros (black tamales), which are a delicacy and only available for Christmas season or for special occasions.
Of course, the fact that a red light or farol as Guy Howard called it in his Red Lantern District, serves as a marker or signal for a place where tamales are sold may confuse the newly arrived or tourists. Guy went on to explain that, “Nor indeed a house of ill repute, except perhaps with regards to the quality of Guatemalan grub to be purchased there.” He further explained, “For whatever a doorway in a narrow, dark alley illuminated by little red lantern might mean back where you come from, here it means ‘come buy our tamales´.”
Another interesting detail about Guatemalan tamales is the fact that in most places tamales are only sold on Saturdays. That’s right, you heard it correctly, tamales are only sold on Saturdays in most shops. Guatemalan enchiladas and Guatemalan chiles rellenos are only sold on Sundays. Paches (a potato-based tamal) are only sold on Thursdays. And the list goes on and on. Of course, you can go to especialty shops and restaurants that have all these dishes any day of the week, but as a general rule in Guatemala, certain dishes are only sold in certain days of the week.
If you want to see a comparison between tamales colorado and negro, follow the white rabbit!
© 2010 – 2013, Rudy Girón. All rights reserved.