Students visited the small town of San Andres this week, learning about the concept of "synchronization" - the mixing of Mayan religion and Catholicism. This is a catholic church with many Mayan symbols embedded in its construction. The colors each represent important aspects of Mayan beliefs and each symbol is representative of Mayan world view.
We also had the opportunity to watch a few Mayan ceremonies where someone asks the gods for something, and gives some kind of offering to both the heavens and the earth. A Mayan priest stands with the person giving the offering and interprets the flames and smoke on whether or not the gods have accepted the request (we weren't allowed to take pictures of that part of the ceremony). People ask for all kinds of things: work, enough food, to help with an illness of a loved one, or perhaps protection when a person is about to emigrate from Guatemala to the United States illegally.