Columbus Day or Indigenous People Day

Rudy Giron: Antigua Guatemala &emdash; Captureing The First Steps

Let’s just celebrate our diversity today and everyday!

Today is a national holiday in Guatemala: Día de la Raza. So, I would like to share with you the face of cultural resistance in a world where identity is being erased or blended; in Guatemala the Maya women still represent a strong footing for the Guatemalan identity.

As I have said before, in Guatemala as in many countries in Latin America, October 12 is a national holiday known as Día de la Raza or Day of the Race. October 12 is celebrated as Columbus Day in the United States, as Día de la Raza in many countries in the Americas, as Discovery Day in the Bahamas, as Día de la Hispanidad and Fiesta Nacional in Spain and as Día de las Américas (Day of the Americas) in Uruguay. These holidays have been celebrated unofficially since the late 18th century, and officially in various countries since the early 20th century.

So, once you know that in Guatemala the October 12 holiday is officially known as Día de la Raza and that in Spain is known as Día de la Hispanidad I found a little ironic that many people and the mass media in general in Guatemala use Día de la Hispanidad instead. This is, of course, a reflection of the Guatemalan idiosyncrasies and the low self-esteem. For a country where the indigenous or native population is the majority, many Guatemalans still tell you that their grandparents were pure 100% Spaniards. Another characteristic, or let’s call it a feature, of Guatemalans is how much emphasis is put on last names; like if by magic a Spanish-sounding last name could erase our mix ancestry.

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