Skach Koyl – Guatemala’s Unique Drunk Horse Riding Race

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Drunk driving might be against the law, but there’s no such rule about drunk horse riding. And believe it or not, it’s actually a sport in Guatemala!

Traditionally, Skach Koyl – a drunken horse race – is meant to mark the end of Day of the Dead celebrations. Drunk riders gather every year on November 1 at the town of Todos Santos to participate in the much awaited race. As you’d expect, there aren’t any rules to the race, no start or finish, and riders stop whenever they please to gulp more mouthfuls of booze. The chaotic race continues for seven hours straight, with no visible concern for safety.



Bicimaquinas – The Amazingly Useful Low-Tech Bicycle Machines of Guatemala

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Cheap, eco-friendly machines, made from discarded bicycle parts and powered by pedalling, are all the rage in rural Guatemala. They’re called ‘bicimaquinas’, and they are used for various purposes in the community – right from simple food processing to making shampoos and soaps.

The unique device is the brainchild of ‘Maya Pedal’, a locally-run non-profit in the rural town of San Adrés Itzapa. Founded in 1997 as a collaboration between Canadian organisation ‘Pedal’ and local mechanic Carlos Marroquín, the organisation is credited with the invention of several devices that make use of spare parts from bikes and harness the power of human energy.

Each bicimaquina (bike-machine) is handcrafted at the Maya Pedal workshop, using a combination of old bikes, concrete, wood, and metal. Their designs are 100 percent original, and are both functional and economical. Priced at about $40 apiece, the machines come in several variations for different purposes.

bicimaquinas ..

The Colorful Street Carpets of Semana Santa, in Antigua

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In some Central American countries like Guatemala and Honduras, Semana Santa, or Holy Week, is celebrated in a colorful fashion, by creating beautiful street carpets made of sand and sawdust and decorated with plants and flowers, called alfombras. And nowhere are they most beautiful than in Antigua.

Easter is a very special celebration in all Catholic countries, but the people of Antigua manage to take it to a whole new level, every year. During the month of lent, processions run through the city streets, each Sunday, with people carrying large statues of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary. It’s truly a sight to behold, but it’s nothing compared to what happens during the last week before Easter. Local families and businesses work together to create the alfombras, incredibly beautiful carpets made of sand and sawdust, right on the cobblestone streets of Antigua.


The All Saints Day Giant Kite Festival of Guatemala

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Every November 1st, the people of Santiago Sacatepéquez , Guatemala celebrate the Day of the Dead by flying giant colorful kites, during the All Saints Day Kite Festival.

Known as “barilletas gigantes” in Spanish, the giant kites of Santiago Sacatepéquez are masterpieces that take great skill and patience to complete. Months before the Kite Festival, teams of people begin work on the colorful kites that will bring them great honor and the respect of their peers, on the big day. A giant kite is made of cloth and paper tied to a bamboo frame, and features a colorful design, usually with a religious or folkloric theme. In recent years, designs have been hinting at the ever-growing corruption of the Guatemala government.