Guatemalan NYC is a growing community centered in Bensonhurst and Bath Beach, Brooklyn.
Guatemala is Indigenous Maya country. Spanish colonizers controlled Central America from Guatemala City.
Guatemalan NYC News
Around a quarter million people enjoy this casual festival of Latin food, music, dance, beauty, and folklore from 20 Spanish-speaking countries of the Americas.
FLUSHING MEADOWS CORONA PARK
A festival of the diversity, traditions, folklore and unity of the Queens Hispanic community.
Sunday, September 24, 2023
Jackson Heights, Queens
A meditation on what it means to be “Hispanic” in America today.
Frieze brings hi-end contemporary art galleries from 27 countries to New York. The Frieze Week cluster of art fairs puts New York on the international art calendar.
Hudson Yards, Manhattan
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The Cisneros Institute show the power of giving.
MUSEUM OF MODERN ART
April 30 – September 9, 2023
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This ancient European spring holiday became associated with the labor movement. The U.S. downplays it, but it’s a major holiday in the Latin world.
Monday, May 1, 2023
Monday, February 13, 2023
NEW YORK CITY
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The 32nd New York Jewish Film Festival 2023, coproduced with the Jewish Museum, screens 29 Jewish films from around the world; at Film at Lincoln Center in the Walter Reade Theater; from January 12-23, 2023. 🇺🇸 🇬🇹 | 🇫🇷 🇮🇹 🇪🇸 | 🇿🇦 | 🇮🇱
“I am Not” (2022) by Tomer Heymann is a documentary about a boarding school student’s adoption in Guatemala, a false Asperger’s diagnosis, and a trip to his birth country. It screens at the 32nd New York Jewish Film Festival 2023 in the Walter Reade Theater at Film at Lincoln Center on Thursday, January 12, 2023 at 5:30pm. Director Q&A. In Hebrew, English and Spanish with subtitles. $15. 🇬🇹
Grammy nominated early music ensemble El Mundo; plays 17th-18th century music from “Archivo de Guatemala,” the archive of the Guatemala City Cathedral which captures the mix of European, African and Indigenous American traditions in Colonial Guatemala; in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall on Wednesday, February 8, 2023 at 7:30pm. From $67. 🇬🇹
Rodolfo Abularach, an exhibition of the Guatemalan artist’s (1933-2020) paintings and works on paper of all-seeing eyes, is at SFA Advisory in Tribeca, by appointment, Wednesday, October 26 – November 30, 2022. sfa-advisory.com 🇬🇹
Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, a celebration of the Americas, through October 15. 🇦🇷🇧🇴🇧🇷🇨🇱🇨🇴🇨🇷🇨🇺🇩🇴🇪🇨🇸🇻🇬🇶🇬🇹🇭🇳🇲🇽🇳🇮🇵🇦🇵🇾🇵🇪🇵🇷🇪🇸🇺🇾🇻🇪
The Queens Hispanic Parade 2022 marches on 37th Avenue from 69th St to 86th St in Jackson Heights, Queens on Sunday, September 25, 2022 starting at 11am. 🇦🇷🇧🇴🇨🇱🇨🇴🇨🇷🇨🇺🇩🇴🇪🇨🇸🇻🇬🇶🇬🇹🇭🇳🇲🇽🇳🇮🇵🇦🇵🇾🇵🇪🇵🇷🇪🇸🇺🇾🇻🇪
Ricardo Arjona brings his Blanco y Negro Tour of Guatemalan Pop to Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, Fri & Sun, May 20 & 22 at 8pm. From $60. 🇬🇹
The Havana Film Festival New York opens at Village East Cinema in the East Village on Fri, Nov 5, 2021 at 6:30pm. From $20. Grammy nominee Dayramir González plays Cuban Jazz at the Afterparty. From $85. 🇨🇺🇪🇸|🇨🇦🇬🇹🇭🇳🇲🇽🇺🇸|🇦🇷🇨🇱🇨🇴🇵🇪🇻🇪|🇬🇷🇬🇧
The Cruce de Campeones USA National Freestyle Rap Finals are at La Boom NY in Woodside, Queens on Sat, Oct 2 at 6pm. Cacha vs Yartzi is the exhibition. From $35. 🇨🇴🇨🇺🇩🇴🇪🇨🇬🇹🇲🇽|🇦🇷🇵🇷
New York Yankees celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with a giveaway of Yankee caps with Hispanic flags for Yankee games on Fri-Wed, Sep 17-22, 2021. From $40. mlb.com
Guatemalan Festivals in NYC
The Feast of St. Michael Archangel (Michaelmas) around Tuesday, September 29 has become a celebration of Guatemalan culture at Saint Finbar Catholic Church in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. It’s popular because it reminds Guatemalan New Yorkers of the Catedral San Miguel in Guatemala.
The San Miguel Choir from Saint Finbar Catholic Church often participates in the Hispanic Day Parade. Guatemalan vendors may participate in the Junta Hispana street fair.
New York City’s “Little Guatemala”
There is a Guatemalan community around 18th Avenue in Bensonhurst and Bath Beach, Brooklyn. Saint Finbar Catholic Church and La Iglesia Jovenes Cristianos church are centers of the community. Saint Finbar has a San Miguel choir.
Guatemalan New Yorkers
Sergio R. Reyes is a talented violinist and photographer originally from Guatemala.
The Guatemalan World
Rigoberta Menchú is a women’s and Indigenous rights activist who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992. She is the founder of Winaq, Guatemala’s first Indigenous political party. Gaby Moreno is popular Guatemalan singer-songwriter.
Chapín is a nickname that Guatemalans call themselves. It comes from “chopine,” an old Venetian platform shoe that women once used to walk through muddy streets. It was the high heel of its day. The higher the chopine, the higher her status. Chopines came to the Americas through Spanish Andalusia.
The nickname became popular when Guatemalan writer José Milla y Vidaurre named a character Juan Chapín in his stories of mid-1800s Guatemala and made fun of his innocence. Today it’s an expression of Guatemalan pride.
Guatemala is famous for its brightly colored Maya textiles. Every town has its own design. The huipil is a traditional Guatemalan blouse. Some Guatemalans speak K’iche‘, a Mayan language.
The country makes its own style of tamales wrapped in plantain or banana leaves instead of corn husks. Guatemalans eat maize corn, not sweet corn.
The marimba is the national instrument of Guatemala.
There is Garifuna culture along the Caribbean coast.
As is common in post-colonial cultures, there is a syncretized Mayan/Catholic faith. Maximón or San Simón is a popular syncretized folk saint. As both the messenger of God and a trickster, he shares characteristics with the Afro-Caribbean Orisha Eleguá/Eshu, Greek/Latin Hermés/Mercury and the Greek Prometheus. Eleguá is also syncretized with Saint Michael Archangel (San Miguel). We don’t know if there is any connection, but humans do similar things everywhere and across time.
Guatemala is Indigenous Maya country. Guatemala City was the seat of Spanish colonial power in Central America.
There are contrasts between urban and rural Guatemalans. Urban Guatemalans tend to be more Protestant and rural Guatemalans more Catholic or Mayan Catholic.