Mar 3, 2013

DANCING WITH THE SAINTS: Patronales are celebrated in villages throughout Guatemala

These small wooden replicas of REAL LIFE dancers, wearing colorful wooden masks and strikingly colorful costumes, are a traditional part of  patronales celebrations in Guatemalan villages throughout the campo (wood dolls courtesy of Casa de los Gigantes, Antigua)  
The patronales celebrations honor the patron saint of the village.  He or she saint is  paraded about  joyously (and often the people carrying the saint pay to lift and walk with the ¨onda´ platform  on their shoulders)  and live music is played all-day-into-night.  

The masked folk dancers (usually men) dance continously in conga-like lines and weave themselves throughout the crowd as well as perform specific cermemonial dances in the town square.

Always fire crackers are heard throughout the day of the patronal celebration and always there are  colorful fuegos artificiales lighting the sky in the evening (the wealthier the village the more fire works displayed).
Village church interiors are most often lavishly decorated with flowers, banners, streamers and worshippers light candles and  pray on their  knees on the raw/rough tile floors.

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