Guatemala covers 42,042 sq mi and it has a population of over 17 million. Guatemala City, which is the capital is the city with the largest population. Guatemala has a very mixed ethnicity. Over half of the population is Mestizo and European. The other part of the population has a very diverse ethnicity. In Guatemala, in the religious field one will find Roman Catholics and Protestants. Also there are indigenous Mayan beliefs. This comes from the large population of indigenous people. This also effects the languages spoken in Guatemala. Spanish is the main language, but then there are 23 other recognized indigenous languages.
Most of these are Mayan. One of the sad things about Guatemala is that it has a very high HIV/ADIS population. It was estimated in 2014 that it is approaching 50,000 adults living with these diseases which is around half the adults. It was also estimated that 1,700 people died with this disease. Also other infectious diseases are high too. For just a few more facts about Guatemala, I would like to write about their money. Guatemala’s money is called Quetzal. It is interesting that this is also the name of a bird that lives in Central America. One quetzal is only worth 0. 1314 cents in U.
S. money. Guatemala’s climate depends on the altitude one is at. Guatemala is mountainous and so not all of it is tropical as some might think. There are three different temperature zones. The first one is called the tropical climate zone. This would be the lower lands which are found along the Pacific and Caribbean coasts. Also there is the tropcial jungle in the northern lowlands. In theses area it is hot and humid. Next, there is the temperate zone. This zone is in the altitude that ranges from 1,000 – 2,000 meters.
This area has cool nights and usually does not go above 5 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the zone that Guatemala City is located in. Third, there is the cool zone. In this area the temperature can go below freezing at night at times. Guatemala’s rainy season runs from mid May to October or November. This does not mean it is rainy everyday. It may rain an hour or two during the day and then rain again at night. Also in the middle of the rainy season there is about a two week dry time. Also when the rainy season comes there is still a little rain. It is something like 3 or 4 days per month that it rains at the beginning of the season.
Closer to the end it is even more dry. Guatemala as we know it today was among the earliest conquests. The entire Central America was actually called Guatemala. It was this whole region that declared Independence from Spain on September 15, 1821. This area formed the Central American Federation from 1823-1838. They had decided to merge with Mexico and Agustin de Iturbide became the emperor. After he suddenly fled, this area decided to become independent on its own. It was a rocky time though. The different states had different ideas that opposed the rulings of the central government in Guatemala City.
One of the main men during this time was Francisco Morazan, who was wanted liberal reforms. He was president in 1830, but by 1838 the five nations operated like separate nations. Next Guatemala had a time when it had four prime caudillos. The first one was in 1840, when Rafael Carrera became president. Carrera was an illiterate mextizo, who was a conservative and was in favor of the church. In 1865, he died. Several years later Justo Rufino Barrios. He was a liberal who became known a the Reformer. In 1885, he was killed in battle when he invaded El Salvador.
The third caudillos was Manuel Estrada Cabrera. He was in office from 1898 to 1920 when he was declared insane. The four guy was Jorge Ubico who became president in 1931. Ubico had a police state, but was liked because he had improved things. In 1944, this changed. He pushed things to far by taking away freedom of speech and of the press, so he ended up fleeing. Then in 1944 a revolution, brought on by the left-wing, made Guatemala a democracy. Juan Jose Arevalo became the elected president. Then the second presidental election in 1950 made Jacobo Arbenz the president.
While he was in office, he did some land reforms which did not make the United Fruit Company happy. Under the leadership of Carlos Castillo Armas, the Guatemalan army is defeated. The democracy ended and as became president until he was assassinated in 1957. In 1960, guerrilla warfare started due to the discontented Indian population. Also there were mysterious death squads that have to do with the military and police. Finally in 1996 the guerrilla groups signed a peace treaty and in 1985 they elected a civilian president. Then in 1996 Alvaro Arzu Irigoyen was elected president.
Since then there have been others presidents. Jimmy Morales is now the president elect. The president they did have resigned due to a corruption scandal and there has been a man filling in as president till Morales takes office in January. The really awesome thing is that Jimmy Morales is an Evangelical Christian and has conservative values. He was considered an outsider, but he his fame rose through being a comedian. He eventually was elected as president. One of Guatemala’s national holidays is their Independence day on September 15th.
This is the day they received Independence from Spain. Since most of central America use to be in a federation, many of the other countries share this same Independence day. In celebration of this day they will set off fireworks. They will also have parades and dances. The children will play their instruments that they have been practicing on for awhile for this big day. There will also be venders in the streets. This day is one of the largest holidays that Guatemala celebrates. Also Holy Week in Guatemala is a big deal. This is Easter Week. It is celebrated with big parades.
Some of them have more then 100 people. These people will carry huge floats on shoulders. The parades also include reenactments of the crucifixion. Another thing that is involved in these celebrations is the alfombras or sawdust carpets. These carpets are made with colorful sawdust, flowers, fruits and vegetables, etc. The sawdust is made into its pattern using stencils. The processions will then pass over them. There are also carpets made inside the churches. This custom is said to come from Spain and the Canary Islands, but the Maya seem to have done it too.
If fact, we can see this practice clear back to the Bible, when they covered the path for Jesus to ride by. All Saints day is another day that Guatemalans celebrates. This is also a big celebration where they will show respect to their deceased love ones. One of the things that is done is making of huge kites. These kites are made from rice paper and bamboo and can be up to 20 meters in diameter. This is the way they communicate with their loved ones. After flying them the people will burn them, because this allows the spirits of their loved ones to return from the earth.
The people will decorate the graves with colorful lots of colorful flowers and they will actually celebrate in the graveyard where they can pray and show respect to their loved ones. Also through out the day their will be music playing and fire works will be set off through the night. Also involved in the celebration is food. One famous dish is the salad called el fiambre. This salad is made from many different ingredients. The ingredients used depends on the family. Some of them put in food that their loved ones liked. Things like eggs, meat, and vegetables are put into it. It can have more then 50 ingredients.
Some of them even have 100. This salad takes around two days to prepare and everyone works together to get it ready. It then will be eaten on this day either in the grave yard or at home. At the people’s homes they will set up an alter to their loved ones which they will decorate and also have food on it. Saints Day is truly a big celebration. Guatemala offers many things for one to see. One of these things is their beaches. Guatemala’s Pacific beaches have black sand due to the volcanoes. Another place to see is Lake Atitlan which is located 5,000 feet above sea level. This lake is surrounded will beautiful volcanoes.
The cool thing is that people can even take a hike the volcanoes. Pacaya volcano is a famous one to hike and it rises to 8,371 feet. This volcano is continually active. Also cool is that fact that you can even get a chance to look into its cone. Another major attraction is the Mayan ruins. There in Guatemala the Mayan built some of their greatest cities. Also the lush jungles, the indigenous culture, and the Chichicastenango market can add to ones adventure. Guatemala is one of the poorest Latin American countries. Somewhere around a quarter of Guatemala’s population is illiterate.
In Guatemala, only 3 out of 10 children graduate from 6th grade. “1 The drop out number is so high, because of not having enough money. Especially the girls might have to care for their siblings or help support the family. Also the girls marry young. Another problem is that the education there is lacking quality. Guatemala has some traditional food. One of these is the tortilla. Also black beans are eaten almost all the time. Guatemalans eat chicken, turkey, and beef as their most common foods. Also seafood is eaten especially along the coast. The Guatemalans also eat Penian is also a dish that they have.
This is a thick meat and vegetable stew. Guatemalan coffee is the best in the world and is exported. When Guatemalans drink coffee, they like a lot of sugar in it. Guatemala’s national anthem has four verses and each verse has its own chorus. Here is the English words for the first verse and chorus: Fortunate Guatemala! May your altars Never be profaned by cruel men. May there never be slaves who submit to their yoke, Or tyrants who deride you. If tomorrow your sacred soil, Should be threatened by foreign invasion, Your fair flag, flying freely in the wind, Will call to you: Conquer or die.
CHORUS:Your fair flag, flying freely in the wind, Will call to you: Conquer or die;For your people, with heart and soul,Would prefer death to slavery. 2 All four of the verses are official and are sung. This anthem does not have a title though. It is just called “Himno Nacional”. Guatemala is a beautiful country both in its landscapes and its indigenous traditions. These indigenous traditions can be seen in both the food and dress as well as other areas. I like the beautiful colors of Guatemala that come from these indigenous roots! Yet with all this beauty Guatemala is poor and they also need to here about Jesus!