Handicrafts; Like its market, Chichicastenango is famous for its handicrafts. Outstanding among them are textiles, particularly the huipil, or women's blouse, made of three pieces of cloth woven on a backstrap loom. The colorfulness of these textiles and their floral design in zig zag pattern also appear on the tzutes, or ceremonial kerchiefs, used by the men to cover their heads during ceremonial feasts. The manufacture of masks has also made Chichicastenango famous for wood carving. Used by dancers in traditional dances, these masks are also appreciated for their decorative value.
Markets; This town in the mountains of Quich´┐Ż has been, since pre-Hispanic times, one of the largest trading centers in the Maya area. Today, few markets in the world are as famous as the Chichicastenango market where thousands of persons come together on Thursdays and Sundays in an impressive spectacle which goes beyond mere trading. The day before market day, peasants from all region travel long distances, bringing their products with them. They spend the night in the arcades which surround the plaza, waiting for the market to start. Vegetables, fruits, grains, lime and soap blend with the handicrafts, particularly huipiles and wooden masks.
Fiestas; On December 21st , Chichicastenango celebrates one of the liveliest feasts, dedicated to St. Thomas. On this occasion, the largest of the fourteen Cofradias (or religious brotherhoods) in the town go through the streets carrying the image of their patron saints in a colorful profession to the sound of drums, chirimias (flutes) and firecrackers. Traditional dances, including the Dance of the Conquest, and the valient descent from the Flying Pole are equally part of the festivities. The center of the feast is the Church of St. Thomas, located in front of a large square where the market is held. This church is an important site for Indian worship, and rituals should be observed with the greatest respect. These rituals start in front of the church, as the steps, just like in pre-Hispanic pyramids, are an integral part of the place of worship.