Colorful street festival with traditional music and dance.

Semana Santa (Holy Week)

Antigua’s Processions

Witness the somber elegance of Antigua’s Processions, where robed participants carry colossal floats depicting scenes from the Passion of Christ. It’s a spectacle of devotion that transforms the cobbled streets into rivers of marigolds and incense.

Alfombras Tradition

Underfoot, an explosion of color awaits. The Alfombras Tradition involves locals meticulously crafting carpets of dyed sawdust and flowers. These ephemeral artworks are a testament to the Guatemalan ethos: beauty is temporary, but memories last forever.

Fiesta Nacional de Guatemala (Independence Day)

Parades and Marching Bands

September 15th marks the day when the air is thick with patriotism and the sound of marching bands. During the Fiesta Nacional de Guatemala, the streets are awash with children in crisp uniforms, twirling batons, and worrisomely sharp instruments—can someone please give that kid a foam trumpet?

Nighttime Celebrations

As dusk settles, the sky erupts in a kaleidoscope of fireworks. Nighttime Celebrations are when the country lets its hair down, so join in the revelry or risk suffering from a severe case of FOMO.

Día de Todos los Santos (All Saints’ Day)

Giant Kite Festival in Santiago Sacatepéquez

Visit Santiago Sacatepéquez on November 1st to see the sky filled with more than just hopes and dreams. The Giant Kite Festival showcases massive, handcrafted kites that could give any UFO a run for its money. It’s a visual feast that also honors the spirits of the deceased.

Horse Races in Todos Santos Cuchumatán

Fancy unbridled excitement? The Horse Races in Todos Santos Cuchumatán are less about the betting and more about the breathtaking, as local riders in vibrant attire gallop their way to glory on a track that’s surely not up to code.

Feria de Chichicastenango

Mayan Rituals

Step into a world where ancient spiritual practices are the norm. The Mayan Rituals during the Feria de Chichicastenango involve shamanic incantations that could either bless your soul or curse you with a sudden urge to buy all the souvenirs.

Colorful Markets and Street Fairs

Indulge in the sensory overload of Colorful Markets and Street Fairs. Haggle with the best of them or simply soak in the atmosphere where the air is thick with the smell of frying empanadas and the sounds of marimba music.

Rabin Ajau National Folkloric Festival

Indigenous Beauty Pageant

The Indigenous Beauty Pageant isn’t your typical tiara-and-teeth affair. It’s an event where traditional attire, cultural knowledge, and the ability to rock a headdress all count towards the crowning of Miss Cultural Heritage.

Cultural Exhibitions

Cultural Exhibitions at the Rabin Ajau Festival are so authentic they make a Renaissance Fair look like a ’90s sitcom set. Expect a deep dive into the heritage, customs, and possibly the most elaborate textiles you’ll ever see.

Festival Folklórico de Cobán

Traditional Dances

At the Festival Folklórico de Cobán, the Traditional Dances are an opportunity to see the local folklore come to life. It’s also a chance to realize that your two left feet are an international phenomenon.

Coffee Fair and Orchid Exhibition

Pair your cultural immersion with a caffeine fix at the Coffee Fair and treat your eyes at the Orchid Exhibition. It’s a botanical marvel that gives the Chelsea Flower Show a run for its money, sans the British politeness.

La Quema del Diablo (Burning of the Devil)

Origins and Significance

La Quema del Diablo on December 7th is Guatemala’s way of telling evil spirits to pack their bags. The ritual burning cleanses the home, and let’s be honest, it’s also a prime opportunity for pyromaniacs to find their calling.

Modern-Day Celebrations

In Modern-Day Celebrations, effigies of the devil go up in flames faster than a gossiper’s reputation in a small town. It’s a fiery spectacle that rids Guatemalans of the year’s bad juju and probably some unwanted paperwork.

Christmas Festivities

Posadas and Pastorelas

Posadas and Pastorelas bring the Christmas story to life, with locals reenacting Mary and Joseph’s search for a room. Spoiler alert: they still end up in a stable, and you’re still going to get teary-eyed.

Christmas Day Traditions

Redefine your Christmas Day Traditions with tamales and midnight mass, proving that the best way to celebrate the birth of Christ is by loosening your belt buckle and embracing community spirit.

New Year’s Eve in Guatemala

Fireworks and Street Parties

For a New Year’s Eve that could outshine Times Square, Guatemala delivers. Expect Fireworks and Street Parties that could potentially register on the Richter scale. Safety goggles not included but highly recommended.

Family Gatherings and Traditions

And let’s not forget the Family Gatherings and Traditions—where predictions for the new year are made, and resolutions are already being side-eyed. It’s a time when family, friends, and food are the main attractions.

Planning Your Visit Around Events

Savvy travelers know that timing is everything. Whether you’re a culture vulture or a party peacock, planning your visit around events ensures you’ll catch Guatemala at its most festive and photogenic. Just remember, when it comes to travel, spontaneity is the spice of life—but a good itinerary never hurt anybody.

About the author

At the helm of Remote Expeditions, Tristan adeptly combines exploration, photography, tour design, web development, and tour leadership, encapsulating the essence of a versatile travel entrepreneur. His mission is to offer a limited number of high-quality tours each year, ensuring an unparalleled travel experience steering clear of mass tourism. He aims to guide you towards the true essence of each destination, facilitating a deep connection with both nature and yourself.