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Introducing Momostenango

Beyond San Francisco El Alto, 26km from Quetzaltenango, this town, set in a pretty mountain valley along a road through pine woods, is famous for the making of chamarras, or thick woollen blankets, as well as ponchos and other woolen garments. The best days to look for these are Wednesday and Sunday, the main market days.

Momostenango is noted for its adherence to the ancient Maya calendar and observance of traditional rites. The town's five main altars are the scene of ceremonies enacted on important celestial dates such as the summer solstice; the spring equinox; the start of the Maya solar year, known as El Mam, observed in late February; and Wajshakib' B'atz, the start of the 260-day tzolkin year. Should you be allowed access to these ceremonies, be sure to treat altars and participants with the utmost respect.