These beautiful pods are the immature flower buds of the corozo palm which is native to Mexico and Central America. The buds range from about 3 to 5 feet in length. In Guatemala, the bud of the corozo palm is an integral part of Semana Santa (Holy Week) celebrations.
Inside the corozo buds are longish clusters of small ivory flowers that are sweetly scented. The flowers are used as decorative elements by themselves or in the floral rugs that are hallmark of Holy Week in Guatemala. Just as the scent of pine trees fills the air at Christmas, so does the bouquet of corozo flowers during Holy Week. If you’re curious like me, you’ll find yourself leaning down to smell the flowers. Once you do, you’ll never forget the scent!
Split in half, the emptied shells of the buds also serve as containers to hold decorations. During Holy Week, you will see the shells and flowers of the corozo palms pretty much everywhere you go.
I found the unopened buds to be graphically beautiful and couldn’t resist taking the photo of them. I saw these, along with all the things that go with celebrating Holy Week, for sale in the Central Market in Antigua. If you are staying in Antigua, the market is easily accessible to via foot. If you don’t feel like walking, flag down a tuk-tuk.