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Mayan Corn Ceremony

Todd Shapera | Guatemala

Mayan farmers pray at a spiritual, dusk-to-dawn ceremony before planting a new crop of corn (maize), Blue Creek, Guatemala.

In Guatemala’s Mayan village of  Blue Creek, farmers and their wives celebrate a dusk-to-dawn ceremony before planting corn.  Throughout the night and early morning, farmers and their wives pray and sing, giving thanks for the earth,, rain, sun, and a good harvest.

In their small church, men and women sit on benches on separate sides.   A humming generator powers the ceiling bulb and a raspy microphone.

In an adjacent hut, villagers string hammocks for sleep during the night.

For the Maya, corn is sacred.  Daily, in their thatched huts, families husk home-grown cobs, ground kernels, and cook tortillas on open-pit fires set on their dirt floors, or in makeshift wood stoves. 

Blue Creek is remote.  From Guatemala’s coastal town of Livingston, we traveled by small boat on the sea and up a rainforest stream, then hiked for two hours over the mountains, and through corn fields.

The region’s outward beauty is striking, as is the local poverty.

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