CultureFeatureFolklore

Chicabal in Portraits

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Every year, a very special ritual takes place by Lake Chicabal, the water-filled crater of Volcán Chicabal. Hundreds of people gather on its shores forty days after Holy Week to pray for rain.

The Mam Maya people of Guatemala believe that the crater of Volcán Chicabal, located 192km west of La Antigua Guatemala, holds the water that is taken into the skies where it eventually becomes rain. So, every year, hundreds of people hike up to the lake’s shores to place offerings in the form of flowers and candles. The lake itself is surrounded by shrines, each representing a different Nahual, where rituals are also held.

As this special day goes by, people pray with firecrackers and church bombs blasting around the lake. The usually calm state of Volcán Chicabal eventually turns into a festive one. This year’s different though: no one is allowed to sell alcohol on the volcano, and this was enforced by the local police.

The entrance to the park costs Q.50 for foreigners, Q.15 for locals, and Q.5 for children.

Two women pose for a photo in lake Chicabal carrying a bouquet of flowers to be left as an offering for the “invocation for rain”. Photo: Santiago Billy/Comvite

 

 

Martín Orozco, 60, sells firecrackers and candles at the shores of Lake Chicabal. Photo: Santiago Billy/Comvite

 

 

Santa Argueta 42 and Angélica Chan 40 have been coming to Chicabal for the past six years. Photo: Santiago Billy/Comvite

 

 

Pedro Pablo Juárez 32 and Lucía Regina Sánchez 29, during their sixth visit to Lake Chicabal. Photo: Santiago Billy/Comvite

 

Flowers to be placed on the shore of Lake Chicabal. Photo: Santiago Billy/Comvite

 

Pedro Pablo Juárez 32 and Lucía Regina Sánchez 29, during their sixth visit to Lake Chicabal. Photo: Santiago Billy/Comvite

 

A spiritual leader in Chicabal during the celebrations of the invocation for rain. Photo: Santiago Billy/Comvite

 

Rodolfo, 18, on his first time during the invocation for rain in Lake Chicabal. Photo: Santiago Billy/Comvite

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