The Last Dance

Next Friday, 19 June 2015, is my last day of school. So this is my last post. Yep. This is goodbye…

In the beginning of the semester, I didn’t know a single thing about Guatemala. I knew it was in the Americas but that was about it. Now I understand the strife that Guatemalans may have gone through and their cultural beliefs. I have an idea as to how the country may have been conquered at first, why it may have been conquered, and just who might have done such a bad thing.

My favourite unit might have been the Quincenera. The reason might be ludicrous, but it’s because I really like princess-y things. The puffy dresses especially. I love fashion. It’s so amazing to hear about the honor that some communities bestow upon our Queens. I especially like the symbolism behind the ceremonies such as the Last Doll, where the Quincenera thanks her guests and lets go of childhood.

I learned that a culture is a community of people who share the same traditions or quirks, whether they be religious or political. This can influence the daily lives of others, such as eating “safe/kosher foods” or what days do we celebrate. This also contributes to how families interact.

Anyways, like a Quincenera, it is time that I let go and put you all on your merry way. Love ya!

-That Guatemala Guy

Advertisements

The Verdict on Columbus: GUILTY – The Truth aka Why I Hate Court

Hi guys! I’m back with something new and different! See, we all know the riveting story of the man named Christopher Columbus, who sailed across the ocean to find the New World. He landed on American soil and so began the American journey! Well guess what? That story is a lie.

I’ve put more under the cut, there is some pretty screwed up and/or triggering things that happened.

Continue reading

Flying Tikal Air

Untitled

Hello! I’m back with more on the Maya. This will be a sort of miscellaneous post because lots of things are happening. I think our Indigenous Groups Unit is ending as well. The above picture is of the travel brochure I made for Tikal. This was our GRAND PROJECT! Hahaha. 🙂 I chose a brochure due to insufficient resources and made it on Tikal, an ancient city in Mesoamerica built by the Mayan peoples.

There are morbid topics such as sacrifice under the cut. So Trigger Warning, I suppose?

Continue reading

Indigenous Groups (Plus: Happy Spring!)

Tikal National Park in the Peten Forest, was once the largest thriving city in Mesoamerica.

Earlier in this blog I mentioned how Guatemala was home to the Mayans. Well, I was assigned to talk about “indigenous groups”. (I’ll define that next.) The Mayans would in fact be an indigenous group of Guatemala. Our whole class focused on Mesoamerica as well, so if you look at other blogs, you might just stumble upon one about the Aztecs or another group.

At first glance, I didn’t know what the heck “indigenous groups” even meant! But in context, I decided that it was synonymous to a minority group. It was talking about Mesoamericans, right? Well, here is the definition:

Originating in and characteristic of a particular region or country; native(often followed by to).” -dictionary.com

The group in Guatemala are the Mayans! These were the same people who built the amazing ruins of Tikal in the Petén Rain Forest. (You know, the place where there was all that deforestation and soil erosion?) The Mayans were sedentary hunter-gatherers. They also began taking part in agriculture later in their early development.  They used solar calendars and made pottery and clay figurines. They were ruled by kings and kept in classes in a hierarchical way. This meant that that there were kings, nobles, and other classes, the lowest being artisans. (For more info, go to: http://mayantimeline.blogspot.com/) Thanks! I’ll be back with more facts in a few weeks! Happy spring! :3

The Princess Diaries a.k.a. The Quinceanera

Hola! I am back with a bit of a change of pace. The subject today is slightly broader and relates to Guatemala. The components of tradition and culture are what we usually talk about. But today, we are talking about a very familiar or popular tradition: The Quinceanera. Though this party can be celebrated in Guatemala, it can also be celebrated in any country!

All around the world there are traditions where adolescents reach their right to adulthood. From BarBat Mitzvahs to Sweet Sixteens, and even getting a Drivers permit or even the right to vote! The Quinceanera is also known as La Fiesta de la Quince Años, or “The Party of Fifteen years”, and is the celebration of a fifteen year old girl. The celebration allows a girl to become a woman through traditions such as the Shoe Swap and the Last Doll. Another point of this tradition is treating the girl as a Queen or Princess. This is shown when you realize her party guests are called a “Court” and when she receives a Tiara, Bible, Scepter, and other things that symbolize power. (Warning to Parents)

Chilean Sopapillas and Culture

Today was our class potluck. We all had different Latin dishes from drinks to desserts. It was a nice lunch. Though, I felt a bit guilty for my inability to help my partner with cooking our dish. Anyway, we had chosen Chilean Sopapillas, which are traditionally deep fried corn tortillas. However, we had chosen Pumpkin Sopapillas with cinnamon and granulated sugar to top it. The Sopapillas themselves were, to my disdain, bland and weren’t very pumpkin-y. Though, I shouldn’t be complaining because I was in able to help make them.

This unit taught us the connection of food and culture. It is usually a matter of bonding for everyone around the table or in the festival. Although, in most cases, thinking back, it is also a fun opportunity to tell a story. The tale of when grandpa was a young boy and caught his first deer. Or in Judaism, the story of Purim and how Esther saved the Jewish people from a tri-hat wearing man named Haiman. This spawned the idea of Hamentashen, tri fold cookies filled with fruit, poppy seeds or chocolate. Many things are born from food in culture.

Deer Dancing and the Merengue

The ending of our dancing unit has come and now, the class will move on to food. But, before I get to that just yet, these are the ending thoughts of mine for the dance portion of the class. During this lesson I learned that one of the dances of Guatemala, La Danza del Venado, is probably one of the most adorable things I have ever seen. The music is definitely not Sky Ferreira, but it is cute and interesting. The dance is somewhat ridiculous, but it get’s it’s given point across. La Danza del Venado or “The Dance of the Deer” is a story. The biography of more than a few deer. It is the story of deer from birth to death (usually the strike of a predator). This dance is a thank you to the deer of Guatemala, created by the Yaquis. I will leave a link to the video below so you all may watch it.

As a treat for the class, our teacher invited a dance instructor to come in today and we all learned a few steps for a single person Merengue. Of course, the class took this opportunity begrudgingly. There was definitely nervous laughter and a few seconds of confusion and embarrassment during the lesson but through it all, the old break dancer in me came right back. I had to suppress him slightly but it was awesome to have an old friend back. Was this lesson an opportunity? Check. Was this opportunity accepted? Check. Was it worth my while? A thousand checks.