Celebrating Guatemala's Independence

This past Saturday was Guatemala’s Independence Day, celebrating its freedom from Spain in 1821. One day, I was busying myself thinking about how I can incorporate Guatemalan culture into our multicultural family. (Oddly, I spend a great deal more time thinking about that than the actual Guatemalan living in our house.)

I decided our family should celebrate Guatemalan independence day.

In the past, we have incorporated Guatemalan traditions in our Christmas celebration, and for Gabriella’s first birthday we brought out a piñata. But this would be a day solely about celebrating her Guatemalan heritage.

Since she’s still too young for my ambitious visions of handicrafts and educational activities, we settled on having lunch at a Guatemalan restaurant here in Atlanta. After arriving, we learned the Guatemalan restaurant we’d visited previously had since gone out of business. Sad.

Thankfully, since I’m now rockin’ the smart phone, I didn’t have to employ my usual tactic of calling my sister and asking her to “Google something for me.” Nope. Smartphone Sally led us on a wild goose chase that landed us in a strip mall with Vietnamese noodle restaurants. Delicious, but not exactly the Guatemalan celebration I had in mind.  Strike two.

So we piled back into the car and tried again. Though routed to the same location, the phone now directed us another two miles away. We were quite thankful to pull into our third parking lot and see this sign.

Billy always gets excited when we eat at Guatemalan restaurants, and I forget how important that cultural connection is. It’s amazing how food is tied to our hearts. He ordered the traditional Guatemalan dish pepian.

And me… I ordered tacos.

Though I love to travel and I love culture and love writing about culture, I’m not really an adventurous eater. I thought I was for a while, but it turned out that was because I had never been asked to try new foods. Nope. It seems the food tied to my heart is, well… pizza.

Gabriella is too young to have any understanding that we were celebrating Guatemalan independence or that she was eating “hen soup.” But I am glad we started the tradition nevertheless.

I know she’s half American. I know she looks white. I know she will probably speak English better than she speaks Spanish.

But I also want her to deeply know that she is half Guatemalan… that her father immigrated to this country. I want her to know Spanish like her grandparents, and I want her to celebrate Guatemala’s independence.

This Saturday was a wonderful start to that tradition.


  1. I'm so glad I found your blog. I'm planning on doing the same thing - celebrating Guatemala's Independence Day. Our son is 1/2 Guatemalan and, I want to honor that part of his heritage.

    1. Yay! I'm so glad you're here and thanks for commenting. It is awesome to connected with other Guatemalan-American families!!!


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