Friday, May 10, 2013 was Mother’s Day in Guatemala. It was huge affair - the school in San Marcos held a giant party in the auditorium, and it was packed with families.
Fridays are also market day in Sololá, a larger town just north of Lago Atitlan that holds a impressive textile, food and random objects market. So not wanting to miss a good market anywhere, I boarded the launcha (20Q/$3CDN) to Panajachel and took two chicken buses to the market (6Q/less than $1 CDN).
On the second bus, I met Bertola who was meeting her sisters and mum, they were buying her mother a new dress (traje) for Mother's Day. Of course I asked if I could tag along. I enjoyed watching the sisters pick a booth; discuss, inspect and compare which colour and material best suited her mum, and then they began to bargain about the price. Bertola would say, "I bought this in Pana for only 90Q", and the vendor would respond, "But my product is very different, it took many hours of work".
Mayan women are famous for their weaving, and it only takes a few days in Guatemala to understand why. In addition to the many different patterns embroidered onto shirts (e.g., the sun, stars, animals, etc), each region has a different style of traje, with different colour patterns. The women of Sololá generally wear dark trajes.
After a bit of deliberation, the women came to an agreement, and and a deal was made. The traje cost about 600Q (about $80 CDN). The fabric was beautiful - woven by hand with additional embroidery on top, the dress was the product of many hours of labour.
If you are in the area - ‘It’s worth the trip to Solola’.