Guatemala

Samantha Garcia 10/09/14

World Geography

YAS! Guatemala

Why should you come to Guatemala?

The country has a rich and distinctive culture from the long mix of elements from Spain and the native Maya people. This diverse history and the natural beauty of the land has created a destination rich in interesting and scenic sites.

Religion

  1. In Guatemala 50–60% of the population is Roman Catholicism in Guatemala, 40%Protestant and 1% follow the indigenous Mayan faith. Catholicism was the official religion during the colonial era.

  2. Roman Catholic: The church teaches that the main motive for ethical behavior is the love of God. Nothing that God has created is evil in itself, but evil use may be made of it. The doctrine concerning persons not Catholic is that since God affords each human being light sufficient to attain salvation, all will be saved who persevere in what they believe to be good, regardless of ignorance. Only those will be damned who persist in what they know to be wrong; among these are persons who resist the church when they know it to be the one, true church.

  3. Protestant: Protestantism is the form of Christian faith and practice which originated with the Protestant Reformation, a movement against what the Protestants considered to be errors in the Roman Catholic Church. It is one of the major divisions of Christendom, together with Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy.

  4. Mayan: Mayan religion was characterized by the worship of nature gods (especially the gods of sun, rain and corn), a priestly class, the importance of astronomy and astrology, rituals of human sacrifice, and the building of elaborate pyramidal temples.

Language

  • In Guatemala, the main speaking language is Spanish.
  • In case you didn't know, Hello translated to Spanish is Hola.

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People

  • Mestizo (mixed Amerindian-Spanish - in local Spanish called Ladino)
  • European 59.4%
  • K'iche 9.1%
  • Kaqchikel 8.4%
  • Mam 7.9%
  • Q'eqchi 6.3%
  • Mayan 8.6%, indigenous non-Mayan 0.2%, other 0.1%

Holidays & Festivals

These are a few of many events:

  • On January 15, the day of the Black Christ is celebrated in Esquipulas
  • On May 2 and 3, the Day of the Cross is celebrated with colorful traditions at Lake Amatitlan near Guatemala City.
  • September 15 is the national holiday to commemorate Guatemala's Independence from Spain in 1821; the largest holiday fair is in Quetzaltenango.
  • All Saints Day, celebrated on November 1, is celebrated with unique traditions throughout Guatemala; giant kites are flown in the cemeteries of Santiago Sacatepequez and Sumpango near Antigua Guatemala. Many Guatemalans feast on a traditional food known as fiambre. An unusual horse race is held in Todos Santos Cuchumatan.

Economy

Guatemala’s economic freedom score is 61.2, making its economy the 83rd freest in the 2014 Index. Its score has increased by 1.2 points, reflecting improvements in six of the 10 economic freedoms including business freedom, investment freedom, and freedom from corruption. Guatemala is ranked 17th out of 29 countries in the South and Central America/Caribbean region, and its overall score is above the regional and world averages.


Over the 20-year history of the Index, Guatemala’s economic freedom has largely stagnated. Improvements in trade freedom, investment freedom, and business freedom have been undermined by an expansion of government spending and taxation and double-digit declines in property rights and freedom from corruption. Reflecting the lack of a consistent governmental commitment to structural reform, the Guatemalan economy has fluctuated in the ranks of the “moderately free” and the “mostly unfree” throughout the history of the Index.


Guatemala enjoys a relatively high degree of market openness but continues to lag in promoting the effective rule of law. The judicial system remains vulnerable to political interference, and lingering serious corruption further undermines the emergence of a more vibrant private sector.

Traveling to Guatemala? Here's a Guide what to expect