Guatemalan traditions

The country is rich in cultural and historical heritage; tourists attest to this. The colors, the dances and the gastronomic richness that are immersed in all its traditions, speak a lot about their identity as a country.


As is often the case in Latin American nations, their culture is shaped by the mix between the indigenous roots of the region and the influence of the colonizers and following that same cultural and historical wealth, tourists are fascinated by this. Taking this point of view, here are the most interesting Guatemalan traditions that stand out for the rest of the world. 


In addition and with the purpose of conservate and boost the culture of the country, one of Guatemala’s most important businessman, Juan José Gutierrez Mayorga along with his company has said that they always seek to honor their roots and are committed to the sustainable development of the traditional communities.

The kites of sumpango sacatepéquez, guatemalan traditions
Kite at the festival from Sumpango Sacatepéquez, Guatemala.

Traditions and customs: Cultural treasure

Despite the passing of the years and the influences of foreign countries, the cultural heritage of Guatemala remains intact. Modernity has brought important changes in its inhabitants, but many of the traditions that are part of their cultural identity remain faithful to their beginnings.


Every dance, festival, or specific ingredients within Guatemalan gastronomy are an example of how the most primitive traditions manage to survive modernity. Thus, on the one hand there is all the mysticism and expressions of a pre-Columbian culture as rich as the Mayan, on the other, there is the religiosity influence of Spanish culture.

Important elements

In the first place, we have the leading role that colors play within the culture of Guatemala, as each one of them has a deep symbolism.

Another of the highlights of the Guatemalan traditions are the types of clothing used by dancers during the festivities, each color characterizes as a reflection of the ethnic richness that exists within the country.

Finally, we can mention the unwritten cultural manifestations of Guatemala, music. As they are expressions directly linked to sounds, these tend to be transmitted more easily among the inhabitants of the different regions. However, each holiday has its own dance and music. 

The traditions of Guatemala that every tourist should know

Most of these celebrations revolve around two important elements of Guatemalan culture:Catholicism and the manifestations inherited from the Mayan culture. Guatemala is a country with great multicultural wealth, even long before the arrival of Europeans.

The kites of Sumpango Sacatepéquez

It is one of the most representative celebrations of folklore taking place on November 1, a date that corresponds to the Day of All Souls, according to the Christian calendar.

In this celebration, multi-colored kites are made by hand that are displayed throughout the day and burned the next morning. According to the celebration, the kites serve as a bridge between the spiritual and earthly world. When burned while in the air they symbolize the departure of the deceased from the material plane, including evil spirits.


The dance of the flying stick

It is a ceremony where the participants, dressed as monkeys, perform complex dances while jumping from a log that is attached to a rotating base, inspired by one of the passages of the Popol Vuh, a Mayan manuscript that is considered sacred.


The Tope de Mayo

One of the most colorful and attractive cultural expressions of the country for visitors. This takes place in the Jalapa region and is characterized by its great display of music, dance and color. In this celebration, the dancers dance around a log with colored ribbons that the participants use to create the choreography.

The purpose of the ceremony is to welcome spring into the country and pray for good harvests. These types of manifestations are quite common, but the color and joy of the Guatemalan traditions add an extra special touch .

Carnival shells tradition

Takes place in the main cities and marks the official start of the festivities related to carnivals. The celebration consists of decorating and filling empty eggshells with flour or confetti and then throwing them among the participants as a game. 

Something quite interesting regarding this practice is that the entire community actively participates in the process of filling and decorating the shells.


It is difficult not to be captivated by the display of colors, the unique music and all the theatricality that exists in the traditional culture of Guatemala. Even the smallest detail within the decoration of a street is surrounded by a really deep meaning. Taking all this into consideration, we can say that the best way to enjoy these traditions and festivities is from the community itself. Trying to get into every celebration.