Mayas Celebrate New Year in Guatemala

From Los Angeles Times Blogs – La Plaza – Deborah Bonello in Mexico City

February 23, 2009.

Guatemalans celebrated Mayan New Year on Sunday, which is the year 5125 in the Mayan solar calendar, according to the Prensa Latina news agency.

Fire ceremonies, dances and baseball games in different parts of the country were held in honor of the occasion.

According to the report, celebrations of Mayan New Year in the past were held in secret. But, for the first time, different state institutions participated this year. They were led by the Culture Ministry, which organized lectures and workshops to debate about the date’s significance.

AFP reports that the traditional celebration is important because it was a ritual observed by the ancestors of modern-day Mayans, a civilization that was once spread across central and south Mexico into the Yucatan and swaths of Central America.

Saturday concluded a week of transition between last year and this year — the year of ‘Iq,’ or air, the breath of life.

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