About Me

Quetzaltenango, Guatemala
Welcome to my adventure in Guatemala! Feel free to comment, positive or negative, and share your stories as well.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Inaugurations and Events Guatemalan Style!

During our time as volunteers we were privileged to witness and participate in many inaugurations and other fun uniquely Guatemalan activities. Guatemala activities are different from American activities in almost every way.

First, no ceremony is complete without the necessary decorations: pine needles spread under the tables and chairs, crepe paper streamers strung from every beam in sight and of course, balloons, dozens and dozens of balloons hanging in clusters from light fixtures, from chairs, from electrical wires...From experience, I can tell you that decorating can take up to 3 hours!

 Papa Tere at my goodbye party  wearing the pinata. Always the jokester :)
And of course decorating is not all work.

And the finished product is lovely! (more pics from thee 2010 goodbye party my host family threw)

A wedding at the local church the host family and I attended.
The pine needles that are used for major holidays and events like weddings, school events and local beauty pageants. They add a unique fragrance and are a constant fixture at ceremonies of all kinds.
And you wouldn't be in Guatemala if there weren't at least one ginormous, delicious looking "cold" cake. Guatemalans love their cake on the squishy side. From moderately juicy to dripping with juice, you never taste the same cake twice. When it comes to celebrations, the chapines (the name Guatemalans use for themselves) spare no expense on quality cake.

Then of course there’s the music. Now, I love the choice and free will that Americans exhibit in choosing music for special occasions. But there is something to be said for consistency. Every occasion (with the possible exception of a wedding here and there) will play the traditional instrument The Marimba. To be honest, a lot of volunteers hate the marimba. But being the weirdo that I am, it was one of the few who adored its cheerful rhythms. What’s not to love about Marimba music? (yes it gets a capital M) It's lively, upbeat, cheerful and perfect waiting music. And everyone needs a little cheer when waiting for upt to an hour and a half for the event to start--it's always nice to be happy while you wait!

A pretty fancy Marimba at the 50th Peace Corps Anniversary.

So there you have it. If you ever find yourelf in Guatemala, now you'll know what to expect when attending a celebration, party or inauguration! I will surely miss the predictability and comforting Marimba music of these events.


  1. Hi Tiffany,

    On behalf of the Peace Corps' Office of Third Goal and Returned Volunteer Services, thanks so much for creating and sharing this glimpse into Guatemalan celebrations! As an RPCV who served in Guatemala (2008-2010), I fell in love with Marimba music as well. I also really liked the juicy cake, even though when washed down with the innevitable pineapple soda, it could be a bit of a sugar overload...

    Also, your previous post is particularly poignant, and I think it perfectly captures all the conflicting priorities and emotions that come as Volunteers near the end of service. As you plan for the future, you may find the resources at www.peacecorps.gov/rpcv helpful. (Keep in mind that most of our services become available to Volunteers after being in country for 21 months.)

    We thank you for your contribution to the Third Goal, and wish you the best of luck with the rest of your service, as well as with your transition back to the States.


    1. Wow I just now saw this! Thanks Mr Slattery. What a unique tie to Guatemala we have : ) Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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