Flatheads in Guatemala

May 20, 2022News0 comments


Flatheads in Guatemala

I’ve taken to the skies again, this time Guatemala.

The military presence standing inside doorways of gift shops, outside banks holding threatening guns against shoulders, or stopping vehicles with barricades on roadways doesn’t stop the chaotic crowds at markets. The military seems invisible to the traditional way of life of the colorful locals.

Mists of fog hide the serrated horizon while the shuttle bus climbs its way toward romantic names like Antigua, Santa Lucia, or Solola. Brilliant colors adorn the women of Chichicastenango, Often clashing tops hang over the wrap around pieces of fabric for skirts. Every village has its own distinctive design in hand woven tops or huipils that women make themselves and pass down to young daughters. Hundreds of huipils line the stalls at the markets from villages all over the country some “hand-made” they say as you walk by and others made of “silk” they say. The shiny synthetic threads glisten when a rare ray of sun hits it and you see hidden behind the tables a basket of store bought spools of synthetic  “silk”.
The older generations of men especially in Solola still wear their traditional hand woven red striped pants, shirts that look like they came directly from a rodeo and heavy brown plaid wool skirts wrapped over their pants.  Men linger on street corners wearing the hats or jackets with the bat design stitched into the white felted wool.

The old Mayans believed that beauty lies in having a flat forehead and crossed eyes. Young children were seen walking around villages in those days with boards tied to their foreheads and strings of beads hanging down the middle to encourage their eyes to cross.


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Jackie Chase

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