Baile de Gigantes – Dancing Giants
Troupes of giant dolls or gigantes dancing in the streets to the sound of marimba during pueblo pageants, are a rare sight for the foreigner and a popular Guatemalan tradition.
Inside these towering jumbo manikins, tucked away under the folds of cloth with tiny feet poking from below, a mortal stomps and sways and twirls its skirts to the rhythm of the music.
Every so often the melody stops and the figures stand motionless allowing puppeteers to catch their breath and cool down in the harsh sunlight, and onlookers to get close and snap photos.
On the 31st of December in the 5a Avenida Norte, the street with the landmark arch in Antigua, against the colonial backdrop of crumbling ruins and color splashed walls of soft hued reds, blues and yellows, gigantes welcome in the New Year festivities.
1. The famous arch in the 5a Avenida Norte ready to say adios to 2010 and welcome in 2011.
2. Schedule of festivities for New Year's Eve.
3. Dancing gigantes with marimba band playing in the background.
5. Under the arch.
6. Taking a breather.
10. Indigenous women selling locally made scarves to tourists watching the gigantes.
11. One of the taller gigantes.
12. Agua (Water) Volcano, wreathed in clouds, peering through Antigua's landmark arch.
13. A tourist posing for a photo with one of the smaller gigantes.
17. Clambering back under a gigante after a brief break.
22. Indigenous children sellers walking past a gigante.
26. Gigantes taking a break.
29. Dancing feet under a gigante.
33. Photo time. Showing the scale of some of the taller gigantes.
35. Sombrero wearing gentleman, typical of Guatemalan pueblos, watching the spectacle.
36. Close up of a gigante's colorful dress.