Get to know Guatemala!

This week we want to introduce you to Guatemala and share a little bit of her history and culture.

The Republic of Guatemala is located in Central America, its neighbours include Mexico, Belize, the Caribbeans, Honduras, and El Salvador. Guatemala is the most populous country in Central America with a growing population of 16.9 million people (Britannica, 2019).

Guatemala is a nation that has been blessed with a mixture of unique cultures originating from Spain and the Maya people. Before Spaniard colonization, a majority of modern-day Guatemala was under the Maya civilization. During this period, many of the first politically organized states were established in this area and throughout the Americas. Incredible cities and pyramids were also built during this time.

Mayan Ruins in Tikal Guatemala

Guatemala was colonized by Spain in 1524 and was the main site for the exportation of sugarcane, cocoa, blue añil dye and precious woods. Guatemala gained its independence from Spain in 1821 and joined the Mexican Empire. This union dissolved in less than two years and caused the Guatemalan provinces to create the United Provinces of Central America. This union dissolved as well and in 1840 Guatemala became a completely independent nation (Britannica, 2019).

The capital of Guatemala is Guatemala city and the most popular city for tourism is Antigua. Guatemala’s official and most common language is Spanish, however, more than 15 indigenous languages are spoken throughout the country (Lonely Planet, 2019).

National Palace Guatemala
Arco de Santa Catalina

Food and clothing are a big part of the Guatemalan culture. The majority of Guatemalan dishes contain some form of black beans, rice, corn tortillas, and fresh fruit.

Boiled Plantains
Guatemalan Corn Tortillas
The Chichicastenango Market

Modern and Traditional clothing is worn in Guatemala. Traditional clothes in Guatemala are of Mayan origin and are significant to the effort to preserve this rich heritage. These colourful and pattern-filled garments vary from region to region but generally have a common look. Women wear outfits that consist of a hupil (blouse), corte (skirt), and faja (belt). Men wear outfits that consist of a shirt, jacket, trousers, and rodillera (heavy woollen wrap).

Guatemalan women in traditional clothing

Guatemala is a country blessed with a beautiful and unique culture!

The mission of WHEF is to increase accessibility to medications and supplies for healthcare facilities in Guatemala and Grenada. If you are interested in hearing more about the work we are doing, or in connecting with us, you can visit our website, check out our instagram or facebook, or sign up to receive our newletters. If you would like to support us in our work, please donate here.

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