The Iglesia Santo Tomas in Chichicastenango is one of the great hubs of contemporary highland Maya religion, and it's one of the best places for travelers to get a sense for how vibrant and dynamic Maya religion still is: not an artifact for the history books and tour guides, but a living tradition. Every Sunday, while the town's famous market gathers steam, local women set up on the steps with big bundles of flowers and incense for those who wish to leave an offering inside the church, while elderly parishioners burn sweet-smelling copal resin outside the door to further sanctify the space. Inside, the church is dark but for the hundreds of small lit candles around every altar, and the air hums with prayers in K'iche and Spanish.
Tourists are welcome to enter, but should dress appropriately and absolutely not take photos.
By AFAR Traveler
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