New Year’s celebrates the end of the year and the start of a new one. In many places, this is a time for great celebration. Public parties are held in cities all around the world on New Year’s Eve, where people get together to count down to the New Year at midnight.
Gatemalans love New Year’s Eve because it allows them to use something they very much enjoy: fireworks.
Where to go in Guatemala for New Year’s Eve
Everyone in Guatemala will tell you that the best place to be for this holiday is in the city of Antigua. This is the equivalent of how Americans tell you the biggest New Year’s celebration is in New York City. Antigua is the main hub for this day, making all other cities, including the capital, feel much more empty.
Guatemalan New Year’s Eve Traditions
When in Antigua for New Year's Eve, it is highly recommended to watch the Baile de Moros y Cristianos, or the Dance of the Moors and the Christians. This dance is performed in the streets every New Year’s Eve and tells the story of how God helped the Christians defeat the Moors. This dance and story was first introduced in Guatemala when the Spanish colonizers attempted to turn the indigenous Maya into Christians. Other forms of entertainment can be found as well, including musicians and comedians.
Guatemalan Food on New Year’s Eve
For New Year’s Eve, a special type of tamale is made that is different from that of Christmas Eve. This tamale is black and tastes rather sweet due to the chocolate in it. These tamales are sold by both street vendors and regular families trying to make money.
Guatemala’s Love for Fireworks
The people of Guatemala definitely know how to put on a show when it comes to fireworks. There are two main spots for watching the fireworks in Antigua, the Municipal Palace, and the famous arch going over one of the streets. The fireworks start around 11:45pm and continue even past the midnight countdown all the way to around 1 in the morning.