Antigua, located in southern Guatemala, covers its streets in colorful carpets throughout the Holy Week, held sometime between March 22 and April 23. On Palm Sunday, curcuruchas (carriers) wear purple-robrd devotees and carry andas (floats) with images of the Holy Virgin of Sorrow and Jesus of Nazareth on the shoulders.
Easter Sunday is a day of rejoicing the resurrection of Christ. Fireworks, family meals, and celebrations continue throughout the day.
The long carpets are made from flowers, colored sawdust, fruits, vegetables, and sand. The carpets’ designs reflect biblical symbols, Mayan traditions, and scenes from nature. It is their way to honor Christ’s death and pay penance. They often depict scenes that are important to the artists, ranging from religion to Mayan traditions to nature and Guatemalan history.
Guatemala is a small country with a big coffee history. Coffee was introduced to the country by a man named Juan Francisco Marroquin, who was the first farmer to cultivate and process coffee beans. He later built the first coffee plantations in Antigua, Guatemala. He cultivated them with seeds he acquired from French immigrants to Central America. He built a simple wooden structure to house the drying process where he hung the branches of coffee on long poles that were held up by ropes. He hung them on both sides of the patio so that they could be easily turned over once they dried until they were ready for roasting.
Today there are many different types of coffee grown in different regions of the country. What most people don't know is that Guatemala's first coffee plants were actually brought to the country by Englishmen who, after failing to do business in British Honduras (now Belize), decided they would try their luck in their neighbor to the south.
Guatemalan coffee is farmed in the volcanic soil of this country. This has led to the development of coffees with a very distinct taste.
The best known are Bourbon, Caturra and Catuai, which you can find in the Antigua region. The shades of these varieties can vary slightly, depending on the altitude they are cultivated at. The majority of Guatemalans prefer dark roasts, as they have a stronger taste. However, there are also people who prefer light roasts as well.
Toddy is a conventional beverage made by boiling coffee beans and water together over a fire. It's usually served with cinnamon or chocolate, often while standing over the grill. Café de olla is a traditional hot drink made from roasted coffee beans and water, mixed with sugar and spices like cinnamon, nutmeg or anise.
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