Guatemala town celebrates patron saint with dance, fireworks

Full Screen
1 / 13

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

Locals launch fireworks from the steps of Saint Thomas church during celebration honoring the patron saint of Chichicastenango, Guatemala, Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019. The church is built atop a former sacred Maya site and incorporates the temple's 18 steps, each representing a month of the Mayan calendar. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)


CHICHICASTENANGO – With dances and fireworks, indigenous residents of a town in the Guatemalan highlands on Saturday held a festival celebrating their patron saint, Thomas the apostle.

Much of the activity in Chichicastenango, including a procession with a wooden statue of Thomas, centered on the centuries-old church in the town.

Founded by the Spanish, Chichicastenango is a center of the Quiché ethnic group. A Spanish priest found the Popol Vuh, a text describing Mayan culture and mythology, in the town and translated it into Spanish.

Chichicastenango is a popular destination at this time of year, with many foreign tourists flocking to the main square to witness the annual festival.