Anales de los Cakchiqueles

San Andrés Itzapa

San Andrés Itzapa (Itzapa means stone or pedernal, commonly called ray stone), is a municipality of Chimaltenango, Guatemala. San Andres makes up the eastern region of Chimaltenango, while Colinda, the municipal head, lies to the north, Acatenango lies to the south and to the east is Parramos. San Andrés Itzapa is 90 kilometers square, with a total of 31,956 inhabitants, called Itzapecos.

Origen of the name

San Andres Itzapa is an ancient town. In the version of En los Anales de los Cakchiqueles o Memorial de Tecpan Atitlan, the kings Ahpozotzil y Aposahil went to Parayaal Chay, in January of 1538, arriving first at the head of the Sololá river, which they called “Los Ruyaal Chay”. (In Spanish and Cakchiquel, this is written “Río de los Chayes”, or in Nahuatl, “Rió Itzapan”. They named the area "Itzapa y de San Andrés in honor of their patron saint, the apostle San Andres (Saint Andrew).

When the Spanish came to this region, they named the area "Valle del Durazno" (Valley of the peaches), as the prickly pears common in this area resembled the orchards of home.

Flora and Fauna

San Andrés Itzapa has several heavily forested areas, which include eucalyptus, poplars, pines, ilex, oaks, cypress and other evergreen and deciduous species.

Plants found in San Andrés Itzapa include canaque, casuarina, conacaste, hormigo, grabilea and palo blanco.

Animals include coyote, armadillos , mountain lions, tisote, lynxes, goyoy, kinkajou, squirrels, racoons, wild boars, dove, cayayes, pajuil, and pheasant.

Language

Both Spanish and Kaqchiquel are spoken, although migration from other regions has brought an influx of other languages, such as K'iché and Tzutujil (these languages share a similarity in phonology and meaning).

Crafts

The municipality is rich in the craftsmanship of leather goods, such as mecapales and knife or machete sheaths, caites, articles of jade, tables and chairs, networks of toot among others.

Division

It has 9 villages, Chicazanga, Chimachoy, Panimaquin, San Jose Boilers, Good Grass, the Avocado, San Jose the Corrals, Xiparquiy, San Jose Cajahualten.

Products

Wheat, cotton, corn, beans, avocado, guisquil, beet, radish, guicoy, carrot, broccoli, cabbage, coffee and Chile guaque.

Celebrations

  • Convite (the last Saturday of January)
  • Titular fair (of the 22 of November to the 1 of December)
  • Corpus Cristi
  • Run of Tapes (15 of September)

The festival held on the 28th of October is not accepted by all the town's residents as the town's primary celebration, as the festival day town's patron saint, Saint Andrew the Apostle, is celebrated on the 30th of November by all Itzapeco. The celebration in October honors not Saint Simon but Maximón, so it is not a saints day.

Maximón is not a Catholic saint, though many people burn candles and make offerings to him requesting his favor. Some refer to him as the patron saint of drunkards and gamblers.

Tourist places

  • Xipacay bath
  • Temple of San Simón

Volunteer Organizations

  • Mayapedal- small local NGO dedicated to supporting rural development through the design and production of pedal powered machines, or "bicimaquinas".

References

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