While shopping at the Mercado in Antigua, you might come across stands selling painted eggshells, similar to Easter eggs. These colorful eggs are known as “cascarones”. Next to the eggs, you’ll typically see bags of bright confetti (pica pica).

painted eggshells

Cascarones (eggshells)

Pica pica (confetti)

The eggshells are filled with confetti and their sole purpose is to be smashed on top of someones’ head! As you can imagine, this is a very popular activity among young people. While it’s not an official holiday, the custom is to dress up children in cute animal costumes and have them throw confetti on each other at school.

This celebration is meant to be the last hurrah before the start of the Lenten season. The season is marked by ritual fasting and traditionally associated with the 40 days of fasting that Jesus endured in the desert.

Carnival in Guatemala

Most people in the USA are familiar with Mardi Gras, which is celebrated on Fat Tuesday, as the day before Ash Wednesday is called(it falls on February 14th in 2018). Other popular carnivals are the ones held in Brazil, Colombia, France, and Belgium. The carnival in Venice, Italy, is one of the oldest.

In Guatemala, the biggest and oldest carnival in the country happens in the city of Mazatenango. This carnival is a massive party, featuring parades, beauty pageants, and live bands. While the main day falls on Tuesday, the carnival actually starts on the previous Saturday and runs until Sunday of the following week.

If you ever want to visit the Carnaval Mazateco, plan in advance. The city is over two hours away from Antigua. As an alternative, you can visit the much smaller parade at Paseo de la Sexta and at Paseo Cayalá – both activities in Guatemala City and are organized by INGUAT.

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How do you celebrate Fat Tuesday

in your part of the world?

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