Men of Todos Santos
25 May 2015 | From Richie of Guatemala
Todos Santos Cuchumatán is a municipality in the Guatemalan department of Huehuetenango. The village of San Martin Cuchumatán is the second largest urbanized centre in the municipality of Todos Santos. San Martin is also the agricultural heart of the Cuchumateca valley which produces crops like potatoes, broccoli and large scale cultivation of coffee on the lower mountain slopes of the municipality.
The population of Todos Santos is predominantly indigenous, of Mayan descent, most of whom still speak the Mayan language of Mam. The town is one of few places in Guatemala where indigenous men still wear their traditional clothing, along with the women.
An annual festival is celebrated on October 31-November 2, and is centered on All Saints' Day on November 1 ("Todos Santos" translates to "all saints" in English). Festivities include traditional dances, marimba music and the famous horse races. The horse races are often the scene of mayhem and bloodshed due to the riders' penchant to drink alcohol for days leading up to the races even though the mayor banned the selling of hard alcohol in May 2008.