Tag Archives: Guatemala

Foodies Freebie: September 2013 Wallpaper Collection

On September 15th we celebrate Guatemala’s independence day, and to honor our beautiful country with our desktops, we are sharing our September 2013 Wallpaper Collection featuring these colorful worry dolls, and the bags that you get them in. Don’t know what Worry Dolls are? Well, let us tell you!

Worry Dolls (or muñecas quitapenas), are very small and colorful dolls, and usually are given as presents as a family of 6 dolls per pack. The ones pictured on our calendar are a slightly bigger version, but sold under the same name. If you find yourself not being able to sleep, you tell your worries to the dolls and place them under your pillow before bed. By the next morning, all your worries are gone. The legends also say that you can exhibit the dolls in your house after the troubles go away, since that’s how the elderly would prove how many worries the dolls had taken away from them… showing at the same time the number of happiness was regained with the help of the dolls. There’s a catch though, you can’t share your worries with anybody else or the dolls won’t be able to take the problems away.

The dolls are made by artisans in the Guatemalan highlands, most of them in Chimaltenango. Weekly, it is thought that a family making and selling the dolls, can sell over 400 doll families, making it 2400 potential worries taken away.

We hope you enjoy our wallpapers featuring a little slice of Guatemala’s folklore!

Kitty & Helga

Foodies Freebie: September 2013 Wallpaper Collection

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Guatemalan Folklore: La Llorona (Urban Legend)

The first time we posted a local ghost story was to share the legend of El Sombrerón with our readers from abroad. It’s time for spooky ghost stories again and this year will will share what is probably the best known urban legend in Latin America. La Llorona.

This is the best and most accurate version I could find in English, for a real literary treat you can find this and more urban legends in books such as “Han de estar, y estarán… (Cuentos y Leyendas de Guatemala)” by Francisco Barnoya Galvez, “La calle donde tu vives” by Hector Gaitan, “Leyendas de Guatemala” by Miguel Angel Asturias.

La Llorona

La Llorona, the weeping woman, is an urban legend that is well known throughout Mexico and other Latin American countries. As the story goes, a young woman, intent on keeping the man she loves but who does not want to bear the responsibility of being a father, decides to take her two children to a nearby river and drowning them. She approaches said man to bring him he news of how he no longer has to worry of the burden that were her children. The man rejects the woman, sending her to a state of depression and eventually killing herself as she cannot live with the regret of killing her children. Thereafter, she is said to have been doomed to haunt the land in search of her dead children, never to be re-united with them. She is often heard weeping which is where her name derives from. Other variations say that the man is actually the father of the children and leaves the woman for a rich woman. She is said to kidnap wandering or misbehaved children.

There is a slight variation of the Legend of La Llorona that stems from the country of Honduras. Here, it is said that the woman’s children drowned of their own accord while the woman tended to washing their clothes in the river. Because she was not paying attention to the kids, they drowned and, as she should, blames no one but herself.

My brother-in-law recounts a story of his encounter with La Llorona when in Honduras.

“I was about 10 years-old when I was playing hide-and-seek with some friends and my little sister. I thought it was a good idea to hide in the woods by the Rio Choluteca (the Choluteca River) as the sun, being the fall, was setting and they wouldn’t think, or dare, to look for me there. It wasn’t quite dark yet so I was able to make my way with ease near the river. I stayed in the woods and took cover behind a Tamarindo Tree (click on link for an idea as to what tree looks like). As I was taking cover, I started to hear what sounded like a woman crying. I looked towards the river and saw her there. She had her back to me, concealing her face with her long, dark, wet hair, but I could see that she was using the river to wash what looked like child’s clothing. Although I could not see her face, I could hear her calling my name and I slowly approached her without fully understanding why I was doing so. Closer and closer I got, the sound of her weeping growing louder. Then, for reasons I can’t explain, I snapped out of it and realized, to some extent, what was happening. I remember being told to never turn my back to her or she will be able to take my soul when least expected and the only way to escape from her is to walk backwards away from her. And so I did. I walked and I walked, then I blacked out. The only thing I can remember after that was being home with no recollection of how I got there”.

 It was at this moment where his sister intervened and explains what happened during that blackout.

“Me and a couple of friends finally found him. But when we did so, he did not look like himself. He looked as if frozen, or paralyzed with fear. We tried to snap him out of it, but he would not respond. We started to get scared and decided it would be best if we all carried him out of there as it was almost dark and we didn’t want to get lost in the woods. It wasn’t until we got home when he snapped out of it with no recollection of what happened. The last thing he could remember was the woman by the river.”

Another member of my wife’s family also explained of his brief encounter with La Llorona as he walked home. Her hair drooped over her face so that it was hidden. She stood with her arms extended towards him and he could hear her beckoning him to come over. Needless to say, he got the hell out of there fast and left behind a trail of dust.

La Llorona is said to soar the night sky in the form of an owl only transforming into a woman when it lands. She is said to be pale with long dark, usually wet hair that is used to disguise her face, tall, slender and hovers about the ground.

Surely, many will react in the same manner that I did and think, “These stories are too far-fetched to be believable!” But what would drive so many people to believe in the same thing and claim to have experienced the woman and actually have seen her? There can be many arguments when dealing with an individual: under the influence, dream, imagination, mental problems, etc. The list goes on. Of course, these would only be excuses, if not reasons, to explain something that is unexplainable. It is something that is understandable to the rational mind. But when there is no rational explanation to the unexplainable, what does that leave you with? I cannot answer that as I do not know myself. I listen to the stories with an air of fascination and intrigue, not only because of the stories themselves, but because I am not hearing this from a friend of a friend’s sister’s perspective but rather from someone I personally know. I have become part of the early chains that form to create an urban legend. All it takes is for me to tell one person, such as I am doing right now. If whoever reads this then tells the story elsewhere, the chain will continue and perhaps spiral into something else, better said, spiral into another variation of the story.

I don’t know if La Llorona exists, but there are numerous and countless numbers of individuals that believe in her existence and, as mentioned previously, can provide eyewitness, or in some instances “ear” witness accounts of her and to them, that is proof enough. So next time you’re out late, walking at the base of the woods or alongside a river, listen. Listen closely. In the near-distance you may hear something that sounds like a woman crying. If you do, call home and make sure your kids are safe and tucked in. If they are, beware for maybe it is you whom she seeks!

Posted by ReelyBored
www.reelybored.com

Guatemalan Enchiladas

You’ve probably heard of enchiladas before, but you might be thinking about a rolled tortilla filled with chicken, or beef, topped with melted cheese and sauce, which is more of a Mexican enchilada.  These enchiladas, our Guatemalan enchiladas, are made by topping a fried tortilla (called a Tostada) with lettuce, pickled beet and vegetable mix, ground beef and tomato sauce…and the last touch, a sprinkling of dried Guatemalan cheese (Queso Seco).

Historically, this dish dates back to the 18th Century. Enchiladas do require some work, so it’s not a dish you regularly have at home. Thankfully, back at home we get to enjoy it pretty much every two months. this is one of the few ways that dad won’t get tired of eating his veggies. Thankfully, at my parent’s home we have Chila, who comes to help us with the kitchen, and is an expert when it comes to local food. So here you have it, Guatemalan Enchiladas!

Source: Hotel Panamerican, Guatemala

Kitty

Guatemalan Enchiladas

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Perfect Iced Coffee (Cold Brewed Method)

With summer days quickly getting hotter in Guatemala, I wanted to find a cold beverage to treat myself and Mariano on our weekday afternoons. What better way to get us through our busy schedules than caffeine!  I searched for recipes and I ended up taking ideas from two I found.   To get the best flavor you should use the cold brewing method. The difference between using cold brewed coffee and simply letting regular brewed coffee cool down and then just add ice and milk is huge.  As Deb from Smitten Kitchen describes it “The coffee is less bitter, harbors no acidity and all of those background flavors–chocolate, a dark caramelization and even slight smokiness–come through.”

Guatemalans pride ourselves for our excellent coffee, for this brew I used a mixture of equal parts of Huehuetenango and Antigua which I blend at home.  (I added links so those of you who would like to  learn about these coffee blends can do so).

Now, about the recipe itself, I know I won’t be spending money buying iced coffee at coffee shops anymore! This is delicious! The recipe has lasted me for 2 weeks and counting.  You do get quite a lot of servings out of it, depending on the size of the glass you use and how much ice you put into them, of course. You can adjust it to your own liking, maybe add a little vanilla or almond extract? Perhaps a splash of Frangelico?

Helga

Foodies Perfect Iced Coffee

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