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Guatemalan town celebrates Festival of Saint Thomas

Rodrigo Abd / AP

A girl stands next to two men who passed out as villagers dance during celebrations commemorating Chichicastenango's Festival of Saint Thomas in Guatemala, on Monday, Dec. 20. For three days, villagers celebrate in this highland town, with a fair, processions, fireworks and folk dances.

Rodrigo Abd / AP

A musician performs during a procession carrying the image of Saint Thomas in Chichicastenango, Guatemala on Monday.

Rodrigo Abd / AP

Dancers test their skills on the "Palo Volador" during the celebrations of their patron saint in Chichicastenango, Guatemala, on Monday, Dec. 20. The pole dancers climb to the top of the pine pole and then swoop down on the end of a rope, spinning in circles.

Rodrigo Abd / AP

A street photographer named Bernabe waits for customers during Chichicastenango's Festival of Saint Thomas in Guatemala, on Monday.

 

According to WhatsOnWhen.com, this yearly festival brings Guatemalan Indians in colorful garb from the highlands, west of Guatemala City, to enjoy folk music, dance and outlandish spectacles at Chichicastenango's Festival of Saint Thomas.

Images of the patron saint are paraded through the streets, strong incense pours from the church and there are firecrackers, rockets, drums and brass bands that assault the senses. Women wear brightly-colored traditional blouses and a skirt known as a corte. Participants wrapped in rope unravel themselves bit by bit as they spin around a pole.

The church of Santo Tomás is the focal point of the festival. A glimpse of the church interior reveals a mix of Catholic and Amerindian culture, especially evident in the religious celebrations of the festival.