Posts Tagged ‘antigua guatemala’

La Quema del Diablo

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

This is a time of year that hopefully everyone is in good spirits as we approach the festive season. There are few peoples that enjoy a good celebration than the indigenous Guatemaltecos – and why stop at one ?? La Quema del Diablo (The burning of the devil) is a day that dates back as far as the 18th century, and is a combination of the pragmatic (take out household detritus and burn it) and culture whereby the act of burning represents the purging of evil. It is centered in Antigua in front of the Convent of Conception as locals erect an effigy of Lucifer and set it ablaze…………accompanied by fireworks that start around 6pm and continue pretty much uninterrupted all night as the crowds move from the North of the city to the “Old Capital” just outside Antigua proper.
It is not a coincidence that the Fiesta immediately precedes the Fiesta de La Virgen de Inmaculada Concepción Fas it also represents the struggle of the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception with the devil throughout her life. The Virgin is a very special saint for Guatemala – she was declared patron Saint of Guatemala City as early as 1738, and patron Saint of the Americas by Charles III in 1756. From the start of December until Semana Santa (Holy Week), there is no shortage of festivities to observe if you care to take a break from fishing for a day.

It’s not JUST fishing in Guatemala !

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

About Antigua Guatemala
We are often asked by our clients about side trips or laydays when fishing with us in Guatemala. Probably the easiest of these logistically is a day trip (45 minutes each way) from the coast to Antigua .
La Antigua Guatemala means the “Old Guatemala” and was the third capital of Guatemala. Established in 1543 by the Spanish Conquisadors, it was originally named Santiago de los Caballeros (Knights of St James) from the original Capital of Ciudad de Santiago de los Caballeros de Goathemalan. It served as the centre of governance for the “Spanish Colony of Guatemala” for almost 200 years -which at the time consisted of almost all of present day Central America as well as the southern part of Mexico.
A series of earthquakes that started in 1717, but culminated in a set of large earthquakes in 1773 caused the Spanish Crown to mandate the move of the capital to a safer location (present day Guatemala City) in 1776.
The badly damaged city of Santiago de los Caballeros was ordered abandoned, although not everyone left, and was referred to as la Antigua Guatemala, or Old Guatemala. The population had peaked in the 1770’s at around 60,000 – but today’s residents number about half that.
La Antigua is noted for its very elaborate religious celebrations during Lent (Cuaresma), leading up to Holy Week (Semana Santa) and Easter (Pascua). Each Sunday in Lent, one on the local churches and parishes sponsor a series of processions through the streets of Antigua. This is by far the most popular week of the year to visit Antigua, and travellers can expect an extreme shortage of good accommodation – as well as restrictions in the town for parking and access – given the crowds.
Antigua is also well known for its Spanish Schools (over 100 at last count), and for its “cosmopolitan” ambience – with restaurants and bars that serve the tourist population, and are rarely seen in other towns and villages outside the Capital.