Saints mean a lot to Guatemalans, and it is certainly reflected in the vibrant celebrations held in their honour. Chichicastenango, also known as Chichi in short, celebrates their patron Thomas for an entire week between December 13th and the 21st. This great highland party consists of parades and fireworks; but the main show takes place on the last day of the festival when 30-meter high wooden poles are set in the plaza near the Church of Saint Thomas, and pole flyers swing around on the ropes from the top of the pole to the ground to the sounds of marimba music. Some of the flying dancers are tied with the ropes around their hands, whereas others—around their ankles. It looks slightly frightening. This traditional dance preserved by the indigenous Mayan people is called "el baile de palo volador" and is the embodiment of religious fusion as this traditional Mayan dance is performed in honour of a Catholic Saint.
December 13–December 21
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