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Guatemala town celebrates patron saint with dance, fireworks

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Locals launch fireworks from the steps of Saint Thomas church during celebration honoring the patron saint of Chichicastenango, Guatemala, Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019. The church is built atop a former sacred Maya site and incorporates the temple's 18 steps, each representing a month of the Mayan calendar. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)

CHICHICASTENANGO

CHICHICASTENANGO – With dances and fireworks, indigenous residents of a town in the Guatemalan highlands on Saturday held a festival celebrating their patron saint, Thomas the apostle.

Much of the activity in Chichicastenango, including a procession with a wooden statue of Thomas, centered on the centuries-old church in the town.

Founded by the Spanish, Chichicastenango is a center of the Quiché ethnic group. A Spanish priest found the Popol Vuh, a text describing Mayan culture and mythology, in the town and translated it into Spanish.

Chichicastenango is a popular destination at this time of year, with many foreign tourists flocking to the main square to witness the annual festival.