Guatemala town celebrates patron saint with dance, fireworks

International

An indigenous spiritual guide holds an wooden statue of Saint Thomas, the patron saint of Chichicastenango, Guatemala, Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019. After eight uninterrupted days of celebration in honor of their patron Saint Thomas, fireworks accompany three bands that play simultaneously at the corners of one of the most emblematic markets in Guatemala. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)

CHICHICASTENANGO, Guatemala (AP) —

With dances and fireworks, indigenous residents of a town in the Guatemalan highlands on Saturday held a festival celebrating their patron saint, Thomas the apostle.

Much of the activity in Chichicastenango, including a procession with a wooden statue of Thomas, centered on the centuries-old church in the town.

Founded by the Spanish, Chichicastenango is a center of the Quiché ethnic group. A Spanish priest found the Popol Vuh, a text describing Mayan culture and mythology, in the town and translated it into Spanish.

Chichicastenango is a popular destination at this time of year, with many foreign tourists flocking to the main square to witness the annual festival.

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