Christmas in Antigua Guatemala: A Night at Calle del Arco

I love Christmas festivities and Antigua has so far exceeded expectations this year. Celebrations kicked off with the traditional burning of the devil. With that out of the way, it was time to bring on the fireworks – Guatemalans thoroughly enjoy them. Took this pic at last weeks firework show:

Christmas in Guatemala

Fireworks show in front of San Jose Cathedral

This week? More fireworks! I’m at home, it’s a little bit past midnight, and I can still hear fireworks going off in the distance. By the way, how did I know these things were happening? Easy, I checked my /your very own Antigua Events page (click to open in new window). No excuse to miss out on events now. Here’s a pic I took from Parque Central this weekend:

Christmas in Guatemala

Fireworks show in front of Palace of Captain-Generals

But I didn’t go to Antigua on Saturday just to see fireworks. I was – I mean, my daughter was there really there to see Santa :

Christmas in GuatemalaSanta Claus in Antigua Guatemala

Turns out there were quite a few mini-events going on in Arco Street this Saturday – including an appearance by Santa. All 100% free! It was nice to hear some Christmas carols…

Christmas in Guatemala

Choir at Arco Street

… see the three wise men – which I grew up with as a Christmas tradition, not Santa…

Christmas in Guatemala

Three wise men – or wise teens – in Antigua

…and see a live nativity scene, something I can’t recall ever seeing before. Pretty cool.

Christmas in Guatemala

Live nativity scene

And of course, there had to be a nice Guatemalan touch. It ain’t a celebration here until marimbas are making music.

Christmas in Guatemala

Marimba music at Arco Street

Since the night was chilly, we headed towards La Merced for some hot ponche, the traditional fruit drink of Christmas. On our way back, the live animals for the little ones were already out.

Christmas in Guatemala

Live animals in Antigua

And before you ask, yes, I did touch that… donkey. They also had sheep. Or was it goats? What I do know is that it was also a good photo-op.

Christmas in Guatemala

Riding the donkey in Antigua.

The streets weren’t very crowded…

Christmas in GuatemalaChristmas at Calle del Arco

…because most people were hanging out at the other end of the park at the free concert. Even Santa stopped by to say hello to the crowd.

Christmas in Guatemala

Free concert in Antigua

And this being Antigua, of course, there had to be a procession making the rounds, albeit a tiny one – well, not really a procession, but a posada. This one was honoring Virgin Guadalupe, whose celebration was held on Friday, December 12th. Maybe they were making up for having missed the big one the previous day?

Christmas in Guatemala

Guadalupe procession at Christmas

And that was as good a Christmas-season day I’ve had in a while. No malls, no crazy crowds, just traditional Christmas carols to get you in the mood for the season.

*****

What’s your favorite part of Christmas? 

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Antigua Guatemala
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