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Posts tagged “traditional dances

Todos Santos: Cemetery Celebrations Part 2

“The merry dance, beer in hand, in the grave choked hillside cemetery alongside marimba playing musicians.”

While visiting Todos Santos in the remote highlands of Guatemala during the festivities of El Día de Todos Los Santos or All Saints’ Day on November 1, I found these locals celebrating in the village cemetery.

Men clad in the unique village uniform danced unsteadily, beer in hand, among the tightly packed, painted graves to the typical Guatemalan soundtrack of marimba.

Check out my first Todos Santos: Cemetery Celebrations post and the earlier Todos Santos: A Drunken Guatemalan Horse Race.

Marimba playing and dancing in the cemetery, Todos Santos Cuchumatán, Huehuetenango, Guatemala

Marimba band playing and merry locals dancing in the cemetery

Marimba playing and dancing in the cemetery, Todos Santos Cuchumatán, Huehuetenango, Guatemala

Local men dancing to the sound of marimba among the graves in the cemetery, beer in hand

Marimba playing and dancing in the cemetery, Todos Santos Cuchumatán, Huehuetenango, Guatemala

Everyday clothes for men and women in Todos Santos. The men have their uniform and the women have theirs. Each village has their own unique traditional costume worn daily not just for special occasions.

Marimba playing and dancing in the cemetery, Todos Santos Cuchumatán, Huehuetenango, Guatemala

A little tipsy

Chinese New Year in Nakhon Sawan Part 1: Lanterns, Dragons and Dancers

Back in Thailand after ten years away, I decided to revisit Nakhon Sawan (my home for three years before moving to Phuket) during Chinese New Year.

Famous for its large Thai-Chinese population and flamboyant Chinese New Year celebrations Nakhon Sawan attracts tens of thousands of national and international visitors every year during the festival.

The largest city in the central plains, governing the identically named province, Nakhon Sawan (meaning Heavenly City) is known locally as Pak Nam Pho. Here the Ping and Nan rivers merge forming the Chao Phraya that runs through the country’s capital Bangkok.

Spanning over 12 days, this year from 3-14 February, Chinese New Year banners, crimson decorations and glowing Chinese lanterns adorn streets, shopping malls, businesses and homes. Chinese opera, food stalls, temple fairs and open-air concerts and shows saturate the senses.

Here’s a taster of the atmosphere and some of the events running up to the parades on the 12-13 February.

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.