Contrary to much popular use, the plural of Maya is Maya not Mayan.
There are 22 distinct groups of Maya in Guatemala, each with their own indigenous language. The Cakchiquel and Tz'utujil Maya have lived on the lands surrounding Lake Attitlan for 4, 000 years, where they settled after migrating from Chichen-Itza and Petén in the north. For 2,000 years they fought each other for possession of the lake. And then, like Solomon, they divided it down the middle, so that the Tz,utujil live in the south and the Cakchiquel in the north.
Eighty-five thousand years ago, the spectacular twin los chocoyos volcanos erupted, a major seismic event which spread ash from Guatemala as far south as Panama and formed the volcanic crater that today holds Lago Atitlán. Renowned as one of the world’s most beautiful lakes, Lago Atitlán is twelve miles long and over a thousand feet deep, held by rising folds of trees, grasses and corn that end in a jagged volcanic rim. Rising above this already spectacular setting are the volcanos San Pedro, Santiago and Toliman. Beneath them are Tz’utzujil pueblos with concrete houses in yellow, pink and blue and stately windows framed with Guatemalan hardwood. These are interspersed with beehives of adobe and tin roofed homes, patches of corn, tumbling bougenvillae, and bananas pregnant with crowded hands of fruit.
I hope you will check out my interview with kitemaker Julio Asturias http://www.grupoquepasa.com/interview-with-barriletero-julio-roberto-asturias-chiquito/ in Que Pasa magazine. Julio is a wonderful friend and the guide for the Sumpango Day of the Dead Giant Kite Festival part of the Giant Kites and Ancient Temples 2013 cultural tour.
And read my article El Revue magazine about the history and making of the giant kites!
And then take a look at this years Giant Kites & Ancient Temples Tour and come see for yourself these amazing works of sacred art made from tissue paper and glue.
Louise "Luisa" Wisechild, PhD
I first visited Guatemala in 1995 as a member of the Vashon Island sister city delgation to Santiago de Atitlan, Guatemala.