Friday, November 12, 2010

Halloween in Santiago Atitlan

Although Santiago Atitlan does not really celebrate Halloween, it is one of our kids favorite holidays.  So, we thought that maybe we would make it our annual tradition to have a Halloween party.  We hosted about a hundred people (hospital employees and their families, neighbors, friends, and hospital volunteers) for lunch and a piƱata.  Jennifer began cooking the week before and made the biggest pot of chili she’s ever made and thankfully had enough food to feed everyone.  The kids enjoyed a lot of hot dogs.

Christopher was a Power Ranger in a costume we found for about a dollar on the street near the market in Santiago where they sell used clothing from the US.  Elizabeth was Mulan and Julianne was a cat.  Both girls were able to wear both costumes, so they each got to be both Mulan and a cat.  Nicholas was a superhero (yet to be named) and also a princess (also yet to be named).  We all had a great time!

November 1st is All Saints Day and the 2nd is All Souls Day or the Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos). In Santiago, as in the rest of Latin America, it is a time to remember family members and friends who have passed away.  Many thousands fill the cemetery to pay respect to their loved ones.  The day before is spent decorating the local cemetery with pine needles and cut grass to cover the graves, flowers, candles, and incense.  It is supposed to be especially beautiful at night with the lit candles as people hold a vigil in the cemetery overnight from the 1st to the 2nd. 

Monday, November 1, 2010


We have found a number of organizations working here in Santiago that are helping the people of Santiago.  One of these we have recently been introduced to is The Cojolya Association of Mayan Women Weavers.

This organization employs local weavers which provides work for up to 80 weavers and runs a social program aimed at improving the lives of its workers, their families, and the local community.  They also have a small museum about weaving that goes through the process from making the thread to the finished product.

They have a great web site which gives more history and some options for Christmas gifts that will make both the recipient happy and help the people of Santiago.