Guatemalan Festivals and Events
January 1: Año Nuevo (New Year’s Day)
January 15: Pilgrimage observed by thousands to the Basilica of the Black Christ at Esquipulas. This event culminates on the 15th after a week long festival.
February 2,4: Coffee Harvest Celebration - Taking place in the Fraijanes, this town comes alive with the arrival of the coffee harvest. On February 2nd, the town celbrates the Virgen de Candelaria, while February 4th is the celebration of El Sagrado Corazón de Jesus. There are many processions with lots of great food music and dance.
March: Pilgrimage to Chajul in the Ixil Triangle on the second Friday in Lent
March/April: Semana Santa (Holy Week, Easter) - Most colorful celebrations are found in the capital and in Antigua, though celebrations exist throughout the country. The celebrations are a mix of Mayan and Christian traditions and include processions through the streets on rugs made of dyed sawdust especially for the occasion.
May 1: Día del Trabajo (Labor Day) - The largest celebration is in Guatemala City, but there are many parties and parades all around the country.
June 30: Día del Ejército (Army Day)
July (Late): Cobán Folkloric Festival - Celebrated in Cobis, this is one of the most impressive cultural festivals in Guatemala. It showcases the Indian traditions that have existed for thousands of years and includes much music and dance.
August 15: Día de la Asunción - Patrona de Guatemala (Day of the Assumption) - Large fiesta and feast in Joyabaj with ceremonies such as the famous palo volador with men swinging upside down attached to a pole.
September 15: Día de la Independencia (Independence Day)
October 12: Columbus Day
October 20: Conmemoración de la Revolución de 1944 - One place to celebrate this event is Guatemala City where thousands take to the streets near Plaza Mayor. You’ll find lots of music, dance, fireworks, and noise.
November 1-2: Día de Todos los Santos (All Saints Day) and Día de Los Mertos (Day of the Dead) - Wild horse race involving much alcohol in Todos Santos Cuchumatán. Flying of giant kites in Santiago Sacatepéquez and Comalapa. Also enjoy the famous Fiambre, a Guatemalan dish eaten only during these two days of the year.
December 7: Burning of the Devil - All over the country Guatemalans take everything burnable, such as waste paper, old household items, etc., outside of their houses and set it afire to cleanse their households for the holy weeks to come.
December 13-21: Tribute to Santo Tomás - Centered around the famous church in Chichicastenango, this celebration mixes Christian and native traditions with an abundance of food, music, and dance. Its culmination is on the 21st with firecrackers and people swinging from a rope around a central pole, known as palo volador.
December 25: Navidad (Christmas)
December 31: Fin del Año (New Year’s Eve) - Guatemala City’s Plaza Mayor is the hotspot for this night of celebration!
Date Uncertain: Mayan New Year Celebration - Because the Mayan calendar has 260 days, the date of their new year changes every year. This is when Mayans celebrate life and renewal in many sacred sites around the country.