Guatemalans have immigrated from their homeland in Central America in large numbers due to war, violence, and economic pressure, and make up one of the largest groups of Hispanic and Indigneous immigrants in North America. In the United States, half of the Guatemalan population is situated in two parts of the country, the Northeast and Southern California.
Guatemalan are culturally diverse, reflecting the complex mixture of people groups in their homeland. Spanish-speaking Mestizo Guatemalans make up a majority of the population, and have often intermingled with other Hispanic groups. Both Guatemalans and the various people groups of Guatemala may often be found working at or shopping in Guatemalan bakeries which serve delicious breads and traditional dishes.
Some Guatemalan traditions are the celebration of Quinceñeros (15-year old birthday parties), the formation of soccer leagues, and the fiestas celebrating the patron saints of various Catholic villages.
In addition to the Mestizos, many Guatemalan Mayan people groups have immigrated in significant numbers due to economic, social, and political challenges in their homeland. Among them are Chuj; Kanjobal, Eastern; Mam; Popti; and Quiche, Central peoples. In the United States, there are concentrations of Mayan in FL, AZ, GA, SC, TX, CA, and many other states. Many of these people still speak a wide variety of Mayan languages, depending on their area of origin, as well as holding to their pre-Columbian customs and religious practices. Numerous Mayan cultural associations exist in the USA with the goal of promoting and preserving Mayan culture, language, and religion. The primary religion practiced by the Mayan peoples is ethnic religion rooted in the reverence of their gods and spirits in nature. Mayan religion is expressed through traditional rites, customs, and worldview, and conversion to Christianity essentially equates to cultural assimilation.
There are also a few non-Mayan Guatemalan indigenous peoples such as the Garifuna, who are descendants of African slaves who mixed with native Carribean populations. While a majority of Guatemalans are Roman Catholic, an increasing percentage of them are Evangelical Protestants, and Guatemalan-Americans have been a contributor to the rise of Hispanic Protestants during the 2000s.
Pray Guatemalans will find not just economic prosperity, but the riches of new life in Jesus Christ.
Pray for workers to be raised up to reap the harvest among Guatemalan immigrants who are more open to Christianity due to the changes in their lives.
Pray for the evangelization and discipleship of all of the people groups of Guatemala, wherever they may be found.
"After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb." (Revelation 7:9, NIV)