Guatemala is a Central American country south of Mexico. The impact that this country has on the rest of the world is very much underestimated as our everyday lives are practically influenced or surrounded by Guatemalan culture or the resources they have introduced to us. Here are 10 things you didn’t know about Guatemala.
Did you know that Americans consume about 2.8 billion pounds of chocolate each year? Did you also know that Guatemala is the birthplace of chocolate? Chocolate originates from a fruit called cacao which is grown in Guatemala. The Mayans initially consumed cacao as a drink. They believed it held an abundance of benefits, both spiritual and mental. Today, it is used in many other ways in all aspects of cooking and can be found practically anywhere you go.
Guatemala is the home of the Mayan Ruins. These ruins are some of the most breathtaking sights you will ever see and just outstanding works of architecture. Tikal specifically is a Mayan city that is hidden deep in the jungles of Guatemala and is considered a big source of tourism for this beautiful country.
Coffee is another food that Guatemala has also introduced us to. Due to the unique climate and nutrient-rich volcanic soil, Guatemala is able to grow coffee beans that have a distinct rich flavor. There’s a reason why Guatemala is one of the top ten coffee producers in the world!
#4. Marimba Music
Music is heavily influenced by Guatemalan culture. Some of their most traditional music stems from a Marimba which is a large percussion instrument that is played by hitting a set of wooden bars with a mallet. The music played by this instrument is a huge part of their culture and is even considered to be an unofficial national anthem.
Guatemala is also famous for its jade jewelry. Jade is a huge part of the Mayan culture as they are used for both necklaces and earrings. Jade found in Guatemala is rare as it comes in a variety of colors such as lavender, blue, and even rainbow.
#6. Chicken Pepian
Half of the Guatemalan culture consists of food, rich in flavor and spice. One of its oldest and most traditional dishes is Chicken Pepian. This dish dates back to early Mayan times and is made up of slow-cooked fruit, meat, and vegetables that are served alongside rice and tortillas.
Huipils are a traditional, everyday attire worn by Mayan women. These tops are abundant in color and intricate designs which is why it can take up to 3-12 months to make by hand. Huipils can also vary in styles, length, and material.
Despite Spanish being the official language of the country, there are actually 22 languages spoken all throughout Guatemala. 21 of them stem from an indigenous Mayan community.
The reason coffee is able to grow so well in Guatemala is because of its soil that is enriched by volcanoes. Guatemala has more than 30 volcanoes, and 3 of them are still active to this day. One of them is called Fuego Volcano, which is just outside the city of Antigua.
Quetzal in Guatemala can be known as 2 things: A bird and money. This long-tailed bird lives freely in humid forests and has become so famous that they are not only considered the national bird but are also seen on their currency.
Immerse Yourself in Guatemala’s Rich Culture Today!
This country is the birthplace of many rich cultures, amazing dishes, and breathtaking views that will leave anyone speechless. Visiting this country as a tourist or volunteer will give you many opportunities in exploring all of Guatemala’s secret wonders and emerging yourself in the rich Mayan culture. To learn more about volunteering or Guatemala, visit Buena Onda.