San Antonio PolopĆ³

                           Holidays and Celebrations in San Antonio Palopo

                                                              Annual Festival

        San Antonio Palopo celebrates many unique holidays. The most commonly known are

                      Holy WeekSan Antonio's Annual FestivalChristmasDevil Burning and Day of the Dead.

                                                                                     San Antonio Palopo's annual festival. (Fiesta) 

On the week leading up to June 12th San Antonio celebrates its yearly fiesta. The first signs of the festival are the bread stands that open up for business near the central marketplace this is followed by taco and pizza stands. Arcades, games and a Ferris wheel which  dominates at the center of town. Vendors selling toys, balls, puzzles and other such items congest the small central part of the village. 

Hundreds of villagers will hold a procession on the 12th. They carry candles, play native instruments and carry a large statue of San Antonio of Padua. Loud fireworks are set off in front of the procession every ten minutes or so, this is said to ward off any evil spirits. 

Woman and men will often save money throughout the year to buy new outfits for this fiesta. The women will purchase new blouses, skirts, belts, shoes and cintas. Cintas are long decorated hair wraps. Men will often buy new shoes, pants and shirts.

Canoe Race (Cayucos)

San Antonio holds a number of different activities during this week of festivities. One of those being a canoe race.

Often locals will be seen sanding, waxing, painting their traditional Cayucos. Sometimes the locals will build specially made paddles for this race. 

Leading up to the race hundreds of men, women and children will comedown to the shore to watch and cheer on the racers. The prize for 1st place may is often 100-500 Quetzals, (20-50 Dollars.) 

canoe, cayuco race, san antonio palopo

School children participate in the fiesta.

Schools also participate in the local events by parading around town. Children are often dressed up in colorful uniforms assisted by their teachers and parents. Sometimes the students will play live music in a marching band and these will be lead by young girls dancing with batons.

Live music can be heard all week long with local groups playing the most and a nationally well known band will play for the big night June 12th. The concerts are performed on top of the market at the town's central. 

children in traditional traje, fiesta san antonio palopo
school children participate in fiesta in san antonio palopo

The one of the biggest events of the annual fiesta is the masked folk dancing which is done to the live music at the center of the village. This consist of a group of about twenty trained dancers wearing uniforms that represent the Spaniards, animals and other such figures. Masked folkloric dancing has been a tradition of the Maya for thousands of years. The Maya use mask which represent different animals and they are said to inherit the soul of the animal the mask represents.

Because of San Antonio's conservative nature very few people will be seen dancing. People stand and watch motionless as only a few couples dance. The locals often get a laugh watching the intoxicated few stagger around the stage, often falling over but looking as though enjoying themselves very much. 

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