The man in the black sombrero and large tie likes to drink and smoke. Meet Maximon. He lives in the village of Santiago on the shores of Lake Atitlan in Guatemala.
Maximon is a deity or saint found in the highlands of Guatemala. A product of the religious fusion of Catholicism and the beliefs of the Maya, he is thought to be part Maya god, Spanish conquistador and saint. He also goes by the name San Simon (Spanish) and Rilaj Maam (Mayan) in other parts of the country. It is proper protocol to leave him offerings of cigarettes and alcohol if you visit him to pray and ask for blessings.
In Santiago Maximon comes out once a year during Semana Santa or Holy Week when he is paraded in the streets. The rest of the year he resides in one of his attendant’s homes. We found him in a small building down a narrow alley in a dark room with a dirt floor where he stood in the middle.
It is easy to visit him. Children in Santiago will approach you and offer to take you to him for a few quetzals, Guatemala’s currency.