Guatemala Culture Box

Culture Box
Traditional Loom with
Indigenous Woman
Weaving has long played an
important role in indigenous
cultures. Especially in the
eras before mass-produced
textiles, people usually
wove their own clothing; the
designs woven on the
clothing are distinctive to
each community.
Traditional Woven Huipile
Cloth Shawl
This is an example of the
traditional weaving
techniques; there are
differences between
men and women’s
designs as well as those
between different
Pumice Stone
Pumice stone is a
mineral deposit, and
large quantities are
found in Guatemala’s
mountain ranges in
the center of the
country. It is found
near volcanoes and
Guatemala has four
active volcanoes,
making it one of the
most volcano-dense
areas in the world.
Loofa Sponge
This is another typical
Guatemalan export .
While some of us
recognize this as the
object we use in the
shower, the loofa is a type
of gourd, just like
pumpkins. The part of the
plant that makes up the
loofa sponge is the dried
hollow shell of the plant’s
Miniature Ceramic
Household Jars
There are
communities in
Guatemala that
specialize in the
production of pottery.
The ceramic pots and
jars are used for
storage and for
cooking corn and
Miniature Guatemalan Flag
Like all flags, there are specific
meanings behind the colors and
objects on the Guatemalan flag. The
sky blue and white stripes
symbolizes the land between two
oceans: the Pacific and the Atlantic
Ocean. The scroll in the middle
bears the date September 15, 1821
which is the date of independence
from Spain. There is also a queztal
bird which is the national bird of
Guatemala, symbolizing liberty.
Quetzal Coin
The national currency of
Guatemala is the queztal coin.
It is named after the national
bird of Guatemala, the
Resplendent Quetzal. In
ancient times, the Mayans
used tail feathers from the
queztal bird as currency.
Straw Hand-Woven Fan
This fan is used for fanning fires.
This is important because most
of the cooking and heating is
done by the fire. Although, more
and more communities are using
gas. The weaving design can be
seen in pre-Columbian drawings.
Wooden Jaguar Mask
In Mayan culture, the Jaguar is
feared and respected. In precolonial times, warriors hunted
jaguars and wore their hides.
Today, the jaguar is often used
to decorate many objects, such
as masks and clothes. Jaguar
masks are worn in parades and
festivals by the indigenous
peoples who believe the mask
creates a link to the spirit
Pom Incense
Pom is the Mayan word for
Copal, a golden or white resin
(dried sap of the tree) that is
used as incense for religious
ceremonies and rituals at
church and in household altars.
The resin can be boiled, shaped
into hard pellets, and then is
often used as a disinfectant or
pesticide in Mayan villages.
Map of Modern and Colonial
The capital of Guatemala moved
around several times in the
colonial era before finally settling
on its current location. The first
capital was founded in 1524 near
the native Cakchiquel’s capital
city Iximche. The capital was
moved to its current site in 1776.
Today, Guatemala City is the
largest city in Guatemala and in
Central America.
Post Cards
Post Cards
Post Cards
Guatemala has large
deposits of limestone, in
the northernmost part of
the country. It can be
mixed to use in granite,
such as in granite
countertops, or carved for
a decorative lintel. It is
also can be dissolved into
lime water, which helps
soften the dough (masa)
used to make tortillas.
The name of this perfume is
called “Agua de Florida”,
which means water from
Florida. It is a popular
cologne used in Central and
Latin America.
Chocolate and cacao
Chocolate is native to
Central America. It was
very important in ancient
Maya times as it was used
as money, for trading, and
also an elite drink.
Many Guatemalans
participate in traditionalist
religions, such as
Catholicism and
Protestantism. Candles are
used as a way of giving
alms to God; charcoal,
sugar, and liquor are also
often typically offered.
CD- Traditional Music
Guatemala’s traditional
music has a long history,
having been documented as
early as 1680. The national
instrument is the marimba,
from the xylophone family.
Wind and percussion bands
are also popular, especially
during occasions like Lent
and Easter week
processions. Today,
traditional Guatemalan
music is incorporating more
modern instruments such
as the saxophone and the
Map of Guatemala City
This is a colonial layout of
Guatemala City. When the
conquistadores built their cities,
they transplanted the
architectural layout from Spain.
At the center of the city was the
plaza. This was used as the
marketplace of the city.
Surrounding the plaza was the
Church, the equivalent of the
court house, and the most
powerful families. The less
powerful families would live
farther away from the plaza.
Finally, the peasants would live on
the outskirts of the city and the
Jade was a celestial stone of the
Mayas. The believed it was a symbol of
life and eternal love. The Olmecs, an
indigenous tribe that occupied much of
Modern day Mexico and Central
America, made much of their jewelry
from blue jade. Today, Guatemala is
home to one of the largest deposits of
jade in the world.
Woven Basket
Woven baskets are
handmade items that
are used to store or
carry items to and
from home.
Copal (Pom)
Copal is produced from
tree sap into a type of
resin. It has been used
in Central America as a
type of incense and
also as jewelry. It is
also known as Pom in
Everyday Public Transport
In much of Central
and South America,
the main and most
popular system of
public transportation
is the public bus
system. The buses
employed are usually
old school buses
from the U.S.

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