Going to the horse race track.
Is very easy to find the horse race track, it´s located at the end of the main road, i only needed to follow the dozens of people to find the field before the race track entrance, where all the riders were preparing (drinking the alcohol) to mount their horses. There it was a whole party, tourists, locals and the riders wandering around, looking at the horses and making bets.
Day of the Death.
On the second day the action moves to the cemetery, again lot of stalls selling food and drinks, and marimba with drunk people (mostly men) dancing around the graves. There are also stalls selling offerings to the deaths.
Jinetes Borrachos (Drunken riders).
As i said before to show their bravery riders must ride completely drunk, before getting on the horse men drink bottles of a local spirit called Indita (very strong) and lot of beers. In this picture a rider is triying to mount a horse with a Gallo beer
Drunken riders horse race.
The most amazing thing of this festival is the famous horse race, riders must ride very very drunk (it´s a way to prove their bravery). Of course falls and crashes are quite common, and if a rider is dead in the race that means a year of good crops (an offering to the Mayan Gods). The race track is located outside the town near the cemetery, The owners of the horses loan the animals for 20 Quetzales a lap, horses sprinted from one side to another and when a whistle is blown the race stars again. People can ride four times. It´s not a spectacle for everybody, i saw a couple of accidents and was hard to see; but all the town was here...women, boys, girls cheering up their favourite rider.
The day of my visit, was a cold, rainy and foggy day, everybody were looking for a place to escape from the rain, but even with that conditions it´s amazing the beauty of the costumes and the good vibe of the fiesta.
Todos Santos church is a very simple colonial style construction, but for the All Saint´s Day festival was very crowded and ornated. During my visit it was raining so everybody´s were inside it, finally i passed the crowds just to find a very humble but interesting church (it was mass time so i dind´t take any picture).
Todos Santos Costume.
The men costume of Todos Santos is maybe Guatemala´s most beautiful costume...red and white striped trouser, black breeches and blue striped shirts decorated with very ornated wooven collars and flat hats with a blue ribbon around them. Women costume is less colorful: Dark blue long skirts and purple huipiles.
The town is very small and has few interest, a modest main road, two parks and a church, but the scenery that surrounds the town, the remoteness, the authenticity of the place, the costume and the All Saint´s Festival make the village one of the traveller´s favourite place in Guatemala.
The Central park of town is where the Municipality is located, and was the most crowded place of the village during our visit because there was a marimba playing popular music, lots of villagers (some of them very drunk) where dancing in the second floor of the building. A funny experience.
All Saint´s Day.
This small and remote village is specially famous among the travellers for it´s All Saint Day festivity. A very colorful tradition that includes food, dances, drunken riders horse race and lots and lots of alcohol. It´s a five day festivity and is visited by all the farmers of the villages nearby; it´s fun and interesting, here you can really feel the soul of Guatemala.
Some of the riders were wearing more colorful clothes, a cap and decorated hats, i´m not shure if that means some kind of importance or status among the riders.
The Ferris Wheel is very popular in all fiestas in Guatemala, even with heavy rains a ride on it is a very popular way to celebrate the ocasion.
Another interesting thing to do during the fiesta is share some time and pictures with the lovely and friendly local crowned queens. (Here with my Canadian friend Sabrina).