Guatemala celebrates New Year’s Day with a public holiday every 1 January, as does most of the rest of the world. However, the celebrations really begin on New Year’s Eve and reach a high point with the turning of the clock from 11:59pm on 31 December to midnight on 1 January.
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New Year’s Day is a time of resolutions and starting fresh for some, while for others it is spent recovering from a big, late night spent with friends and family.
The most notable centre of New Year’s Celebrations is Antigua, which is the “old capital city”. Thousands from the current capital, simply called Guatemala City, stream to Antigua to take part in the festivities each year.
In Antigua, there are mimes, jugglers, stilt walkers, comedians, and a host of other entertainers in the streets. Crowds dance and listen to mamba music in the streets as well. Fireworks and firecrackers go off periodically throughout the day and night. And there will also be colourful parades.
Families often go on picnics or have outdoor barbecues on New Year’s Eve. The most important new year food is the black tamale, which is made only this time of year. It is an especially sweet-tasting tamale!
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