Sunday, May 25, 2014

Santiago Atitlán - Casa de Maximón / Peace Park / Church Icons

(Note: the best way to view this is to read the text first, then click on the first photo for a slide show)

Maximón (pronounced maa-shee-MOHn) is a “folk saint” worshipped in various forms by Maya people of the western highlands. He was born in Santiago Atitlán. The reverence of Maximón is not approved by the Roman Catholic Church.

Wikipedia says it best: “The legend has it that one day while the village men were off working in the fields, Maximón slept with all of their wives (at once). When they returned, they became so enraged they cut off his arms and legs (this is why most effigies of Maximón are short, often without arms). Somehow he became a god following this, perhaps he was possessed by the god prior. ...

“Where Maximón is venerated, he is represented by an effigy which resides in a different house each year, being moved in a procession during Holy Week. During the rest of the year, devotees visit Maximón in his chosen residence, where his shrine is usually attended by two people from the representing Cofradia who keep the shrine in order and pass offerings from visitors to the effigy. Worshipers offer money, spirits and cigars to gain his favor in exchange for good health, good crops, marriage counseling, amongst other favors. The effigy invariably has a lit cigarette or cigar in its mouth, and in some places, it will have a hole in its mouth to allow the attendants to give it spirits to drink.


Peace Park

In the church


  1. I love how in the first shot, that mountain looks like a roof, and that's it too in the last shot, no?

    1. Yes, the town of Santiago is surrounded by three large volcanos. Actually, I'm not sure if the first and last shot are of the same volcano, but it was definitely a looped sequence. Good eye, Laurie!