We had an opportunity early on Wednesday morning to stop and make our way down a narrow pathway off the streets of Zunil to visit and experience a unique Guatemalan cultural site.
We stopped at a small shop directly across from the site to purchase candles of varied colors representing wishes for health, love, travel or even black candles to put a ‘spell’ on someone. These trinkets are given as offerings to Maximon – San Simon.
I found by searching that:
A Quemaderos (sacred shrines) that are hidden places where shaman come to worship in secret. This blending of these beliefs gave us an opportunity to observe the veneration of a Maximon, a cigar smoking, whisky drinking statue that is worshiped as a living god. We visited the small village of Zunil, dominated by a stunning colonial church where the image of Maximón, a plastic tailor’s dummy dressed in ski wear, gloves, and sunglasses, is still openly revered with pomp and ceremony. He is a folk saint venerated in various forms by Maya people in several towns in the highlands of Western Guatemala.
The origins of his cult are not very well understood by outsiders to the different Mayan religions, but Maximón is believed to be a form of the pre- Columbian Maya god Mam, blended with influences from Catholicism. Maximón may also be called San Simón. Originally, he was believed to be a Catholic priest who
Maximón is generally dressed in European 18th century style, although with many local variations. In Santiago Atitlan he is adorned with many colorful garlands, while in Zunil (where he is known as San Simón) he has a much more intimidating style, with his face obscured by dark sunglasses and a bandanna.
I lite candles for love, health and travel for those I love - not sure I believe in it all - but it can't hurt - don't want to make Maximon mad anyway.