And a frost at the wrong time of the year could kill the entire garden. It could take out an entire field of corn.
For the Cuchumatan Indians of Guatemala, the very real possibility of losing a crop to frost inspired a ceremony that was meant to protect the crops—and therefore their lives.
The Sealing the Frost Ceremony begins as the prayer makers lead the villagers up to a cliff where the frost is said to live. One of the prayer makers dares to do a risky job: he is lowered over the cliff edge by a rope tied around his waist. When he sees a crack in the rock, he fills the crack with cement. This is supposed to seal frost in so that it cannot come and kill the young corn plants.
Then the daring prayer maker is hauled up again, and he leads the procession back down to the village.
Learn about Guatemala
If you ever travel to Guatemala, you might climb a volcano, shop for colorful handicrafts, and visit Mayan ruins.
- National Geographic Kids offers a slideshow about Guatemala.
Here is a short video capturing some lava flowing from one of Guatemala's volcanos.
- Growing Up Bilingual features several clever crafts inspired by Guatemalan handicrafts.
And here is a website that tells the legend of the Mayan Trouble Dolls.
- Explore the ancient Mayan ruins at Tikal with this wonderful video, and maybe even this virtual tour.
Check out this previous post about Guatemala.
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