December 26, 2009

My Guatemalan Christmas

For my 3rd Christmas in Guatemala, I was invited in Mynor’s family. It was my first real Guatemalan Christmas sharing with a local family so I was very curious. In Xela, there is a big market named La Democratia but in December it’s even bigger with stands covering 3 blocks. They are selling everything from clothes to food. On the 24th, it’s the craziest day with people buying their last minute gifts. We went there around 9 pm to buy fruits and a gift, it was packed!

The first tradition is to go to visit friends in the evening to eat a pache with them and drink a ponche. A pache is a pasta of papas with a piece of chicken inside and enveloped with a palm leaf and cooked in the water.  It’s like the tamales but the tamales are made with corn. A ponche is hot water with cinnamon and fruits, delicious!

So we started the evening at Mynor’s oldest brother home and then went at his parent’s. It was already 11:30 pm! His dad made a fire and when midnight came, the fireworks and firecrackers part started!
The second tradition is at midnight firecrackers and fireworks explode everywhere. You can buy any kind of firecrackers, from the smallest to the biggest. It’s crazy and dangerous. There are many accidents every year with kids. So we had our little private party, listening to the sounds coming from all over town and watching the fireworks.

Then we could finally eat! The third tradition is to eat at midnight. Luckily I ate a pache antes or I would have die of hunger ;) Paches and tamales while drinking ponche. And for desert, apples and grapes.
Finally it was time to exchange presents. Mynor sisters organized a present exchange. We all had to bring a present, then pick a paper with a name to know who we were going to give the present to. It was a good idea and fun. I got a plate and a cup, always useful! We danced a bit and when we arrived back home it was already 3:30 am.

A pache and the punch

Fruits as desert

The fire to keep warm. It was so cold that night!

Mynor playing with the fire

with Mynor nieces

The family around the fire

The parents

Mynor and his nieces

Receiving my present

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