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Saint James Day in La Antigua Guatemala

Santiago was a very popular name for the conquistadors to use as they rechristen the new lands of the American continent. If you check the entry for Santiago in Wikipedia, you will there are over 60 cities and towns throught the world that carry that name and that is a very short list since you could probably find about 60 towns with the Santiago name, just in Guatemala. But why was Santiago such a popular name for the Spanish and Portuguese conquistadors?

Guatemalan Fair: The Church and its Saint

Almost all town fairs and festivities are around the town’s patron, in this case is San Pedro Las Huertas, which by the way, means Saint Peter of the vegetable gardens. Since Guatemala was a catholic country for the last 500 years or so and the Mesoamerican indigenous people absorbed and mixed the catholic rituals and traditions with their own religious beliefs and traditions, most Guatemalan towns have a Spanish catholic first name and often an indigenous last name (otherwise known as the original name). For example, Santo Domingo Xenacoj, which means the original name of the town was Xenacoj, and the town was re-christen with Santo Domingo. Now with the above information, we now know that a town’s fair happens once-a-year on the town’s catholic patron. For San Pedro Las Huertas the date is June 29th and for La Antigua Guatemala is July 25th because the city used to be called The Very Noble and Very Loyal City of Saint James of the Lords of Guatemala, as mentioned by Manolo a few days ago. And some of you thought La Antigua Guatemala was already a very long name; try explaining to your friends and relatives that you are planning a vacation to The Very Noble and Very Loyal City of Saint James of the Lords of Guatemala.

PHOTO STOCK: Photographer shooting something above her head taken during a photo walk lead by Rudy Giron.

Do Look Up!

One of the things I teach in the photo walks I lead is to change perspective often and to look up often to discover interesting subjects, such as these Saint James ceiling tiles.

Plaza del Apóstol Santiago

The Plaza del Apóstol Santiago is located a few hundred meters from the Cerro de la Cruz mirador (look out point). It is easy to miss it if you don’t know it is there. In the middle of the plaza you’ll find the monument to Saint James Apostle.

On July 25 La Antigua Guatemala celebrates the Saint James Apostle Day with all kinds of festivities.

Guatemalan Fair: The Ferris Wheel

Ferris wheels are another element of the Guatemalan fair. There is at least one Ferris wheel, but more often two or three of different sizes. The Ferris wheel is known here by these names rueda de Chicago(Chicago Wheel), rueda de la fortuna (wheel of fortune) and vuelta al mundo (around the world). Fairs are made up by all kinds of ambulant stands. Fairs are like accordions, they grow or shrink depending of the size of the community or town. All these photos belong to the San Pedro Las Huertas, a small village just outside and belonging to La Antigua Guatemala. At the end of July, La Antigua Guatemala will have its massive fair in honor of Saint James or Santiago.

Father's Day in Guatemala

June 17th is Father’s Day in Guatemala

In Guatemala holidays and festivities are not celebrated on the weekend unless that’s date a holiday falls. Today, for instance, we celebrate Día del padre, Father’s Day.

Escudo de Santiago de Guatemala

Here’s your illustrated Spanish word of the day: Escudo for Coat or Arms. This is one of the oldest representations of the …

Día de Santiago Decorations

As part of the Día de Santiago celebrations on July 25th, or Saint James Day, La Antigua Guatemala has been hosting all …

Día de Santiago Festivities

As every July 25, La Antigua Guatemala, formerly known as La Muy Noble y Muy Leal Ciudad de Santiago de los Caballeros …

Mosaic Mural of Santiago Apostol

Since Santiago Apostol is the patron saint of Antigua Guatemala, previously Santiago de los Caballeros de Guatemala, it is no wonder you …

Centenaria Escuela Oficial Rural Mixta Francisco Marroquín by Rudy Giron

School Year Cycle in Guatemala

As I have mentioned before, Guatemala’s school year begins in January and end in October. So even though in many places of …

It’s Canícula Time

C’est la canicule ! ¡Es la canícula! It’s the dog days! Call it what you want, but canícula even though elsewhere it …

Book Fair at Main Plaza

As every year, there’s a book fair as part of the festivities of Santiago, Saint James, La Antigua Guatemala’s patron saint. As …

Catholic Decorations: San Miguel

La Antigua Guatemala has to be most catholic town in Guatemala, heck make that Central America. Nowhere is Catholicism more solidly embedded …

Father’s Day in Guatemala

Today, for instance, in Guatemala we celebrate Día del padre, Father’s Day. So I decided to share with you three photos of a series of a father and her daughter having a tender lunch. The little girl refused to take the byte unless her dad gave it to her on the mouth. These three photos are in reverse order, so the first frame is the thumbnail on the right, next the thumbnail of the left and finally the photograph above as they break into smiles and happy moments. There other photos with both of them smiling, but I love the mirada juguetona, playful look of the lit

Santiago’s Fountain

Yesterday I showed you a fountain with four streams. Today we have a rare find. This fountain is inside the Museo de …

Book fair in Antigua

La Antigua Guatemala was founded as Santiago de los Caballeros de Guatemala (Saint James of the Lords of Guatemala) on July 25th, …

Guateflora: Cactus Pot

Believe it or not, the land around La Antigua Guatemala was a very ‘fertile’ arid zone before the introduction of the coffee bush as a crop in 1875. I know fertile and arid sound like two mutually exclusive words, but they were not in Guatemala before 18th century where the Nopal and Maguey cactuses were grown in plantations. I’ve even seen photographs of the nopal plantations around La Antigua Guatemala in the CIRMA Fototeca (The Photo Archives at The Center for Mesoamerican Research).

Architectonic Design Elements in La Antigua Guatemala

La Antigua Guatemala is like a huge living catalog of colonial architectonic design elements. You can walk around the town armed with a camara, notepad and pencil and an eye for detail to capture all the beauty that make up the architecture of The Very Noble and Very Loyal City of Sait James of the Knights of Guatemala. All the colonial architectonic design elements make this an enchanting and haunting little town. It is, certainly, more than the sum of its elements.