How many saints do you know who openly welcome copious amounts of alcohol and tobacco? In the village of San Andres Itzapa, Guatemala just a short drive from Antigua is a shrine dedicated to San Simon. Part Catholic saint and part Mayan god his worshippers pray to him for fertility and prosperity.

San Simon also has a reputation for being the patron saint of gamblers and drunks. Devotees leave offerings of alcohol and tobacco (cash is good too) to appease him.In the village small fires smolder in the courtyard outside a concrete building painted a deep red. Inside a life size wooden figure of San Simon dressed in conquistador fashions sits on top of an altar. Incense and candles burn on tables. If you look closely you can see he is partly covered in plastic. Devotees sometimes spit alcohol and coca-cola on him as a way to ask for his blessings.San Simon goes by Maximon in other parts of the country. You’ll see small wooden folk art statues of him for sale in Guatemala’s markets.

Read full blog post

Comments by other travellers

There are no posts. Why not be the first to have your say?

Post a comment

I want to
Question
My comment - optional
Rating - how would you rate this place or experience?
 

About this author

  • Escape from New York

    A New York City-based journalist and photographer, I travel the world to photograph the people, icons and celebrations that mak…

Also by this author

  • Iglesia y Convento de La Recolección Antigua, Guatemala

    It’s hard to fathom how large the Iglesia y Convento de La Recolección must have been before an earthquake destroyed it in the 1700s little more than half a century after it was built.

  • The 860 Turns Of Mexico’s Highway 120

    There are some 860 hairpin turns on Mexico’s Highway 120 which snakes through the Sierra Gorda Mountains in the Northern Central Highlands. Looking down at the valleys while the bus driver navigated 180 degree turns with skill I couldn’t help but wonder w

  • Tequisquipan Mexico

    The bougainvillea-lined cobblestone streets of Tequisquipan seem for the most part to have fallen under the radar of the foreign traveler circuit.

  • World’s Highest Post Office Jin Mao Tower Shanghai China

    The Jin Mao Tower in Shanghai may no longer be the tallest building in mainland China but it can still boast having the highest post office in the world.

Latest travel blog posts