National Holidays in Antigua
Celebrations and National Holidays in Antigua
In this section, you’ll find information about the numerous holidays and national days that are celebrated in Antigua, Guatemala. This information is important to know in order to understand the culture, heritage, and traditions in Antigua and how they will impact your vacation. One thing to note before coming to Antigua, everything is celebrated with fireworks from holidays to sports. Do not be surprised if you see random fireworks displays throughout the city in the evenings (and sometimes into the early mornings) while you’re in Antigua.
New Year’s Day – Annually on January 1st
Like many countries around the world Guatemala celebrates the New Year on January 1st. You can expect many businesses to be closed and fireworks display the evening preceding.
Semana Santa – Dates change, always in April or March
The Holy Week, also known as La Semana Santa, is a weeklong celebration of Jesus Christ in April following Easter. Semana Santa is one of the most popular holidays in Latin American countries with the majority of the people having time off work to spend time with family and celebrate.
There is a strong Catholic/ Christian presence in Antigua and Guatemala as a whole. There are many churches in Antigua (over 15!) and each church has its own parade and festivities to celebrate La Semana Santa. The city itself is transformed by the festivities and events, with many people from around Guatemala visiting the city for the Holy Week.
It is very important to keep in mind the dates of La Semana Santa in mind (they change every year) if you are planning to visit Antigua in April. During this week, there is a sharp increase in domestic tourism meaning it becomes difficult to find accommodations if you plan last-minute. In addition, it is not recommended to travel around the country during this week as accommodations across the country will be hard to find and there will be an increase in traffic.
Independence Day – September 15th
On September 15, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Honduras celebrate their independence from Spain. The five Central American countries gained their independence from the Kingdom of Spain in 1821 in a fairly peaceful manner due to the instability of the Spanish monarch.
Independence Day is one of the bigger holidays in Guatemala with the entire country coming together to celebrate their independence with fireworks, parades, and parties.
Revolution Day – October 20th
Every year on October 20th Guatemala remembers the Revolution of 1944 by celebrating the national holiday Revolution Day. On October 20th, 1944, university and military leaders in Guatemala overthrew the dictator Jorge Ubico y Castañeda that had ruled over Guatemala for a decade.
Most of the country celebrates Revolution Day by taking the day off, and in true Guatemalan fashion, setting off fireworks.
El Día De Los Muertos – November 1-2
El Día De Los Muertos is an annual holiday celebrated throughout Latin America where families take the time to remember their loved ones that have passed. Guatemala is no exception. The celebration takes place from November 1st through November 2nd. You will find decorations, special evening services in churches, and parties throughout Antigua and Guatemala in order to mark the holiday and commemorate family members that have died.
Christmas – December 24-25
Guatemala celebrates Christmas Eve and Christmas Day on December 24th and 25th respectively. As with most of the Christian/ Catholic world, Christmas is one of the biggest holidays of the year with people taking off work and spending time with their families.
There are services held throughout the beautiful churches across Antigua which you can attend if you so choose.