San Gerónimo’s far-flung children—both those still living in the village or surrounding settlements and those who have migrated to the capital of Guatemala City—take great pride in the unrivaled reputation of their communal celebrations. Celebrations for San Gerónimo’s patron saint, for Christmas Eve, for New Year’s Eve, and for Easter Sunday are all marked by elaborate observances complete with costly fireworks. The village, renowned for its production of sugar and high quality moonshine and liquors, is also famed for the music and dancing that accompanies these festivities, both secular and religious, into the wee hours of the morning. Many Chomeños have credited these traditions to San Gerónimo’s unique heritage, having been home to thousands of African slaves and their descendants since the early seventeenth century. The massive Dominican-owned sugar plantation that once dominated the geographic and social landscape underwrote a major part of...

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