Achi people

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Total population
Regions with significant populations
Achi, Spanish
Catholic, Evangelicalist, Maya religion

The Achi are a Maya people in Guatemala. Their indigenous language is also called Achi and is closely related to K'iche'.


Dominican friars arrived in present Guatemala, with just one place in which to settle a mission: Tezulutlán or "Land of War". Friar Bartolomé de las Casas was trusted with "reducing" the indigenous population via Christianisation. One of the first references to Cubulco can be found in the Royal Charter of don Francisco Izquin Nehabib, written in 1558. The Rabinal Achí was published in Paris in 1862. This document was found by Braseur de Bouburg. Experts have pointed out that the text resemble the military honour codes present in Homer's Iliad. Dutch anthropologist Ruud van Akkeren in an interview stated that the 16th century Achi people weren't today's Achi people, the same as with the Quiches; these peoples have a right to know their history.


Rabinal is famed for producing the country's sweetest oranges. San Jerónimo is known for having the colony's best houses and wineyards, where the best wine was produced. This region "introduced" African peoples to work in the plantations. Besides cultivation of oranges, the main economical activities are mud, hay and Agave americana crafts. Rabinal (in Zamaned vale) was an important location in the trade route out of the region. Ceramics, textiles, oranges, etc. were commercialised.



Traditions are passed from generation to generation. Ceremonies are performed as part of brotherhoods, and the duty of brothers to maintain ongoing traditions. They perform several dances. Their deities include Ajaaw (the divine), uk'u'x kaaj and uk'u'x uleew, to which they ask for permission to perform the traditional dances. The rain, wind, clouds and corn are also considered sacred beings. The people also celebrate Easter week, Christmas and Christmas Eve. Achi religion is a syncretic version of a Christianism-animism complex. They possess saintly places such as Chipichek, Chusxan, B'ele tz'ak y Cuwajuexij. They follow the Tzolk'in calendar.


Being an important part of Achi culture, weaving is done the same way as Ixchel, which is using a waist loom or sticks. In this way, bands, servilletes, and table cloths are produced. The fabric used is “ixkak”, which is cotton dyed in white and coffee colour. The cotton is obtained at the end of winter, and is called "mish".


Main dishes include pinol and bochbol. The former is done with toasted corn, which is then powdered and mixed with turkey meat and spices. The latter is made with ayote leaves, corn dough, toasted ayote seeds and tomato; rolls are then cooked, and eaten hot. Pinol is a festive dish, while bochbol is an everyday food.


  1. ^ "XI Censo Nacional de Población y VI de Habitación (Censo 2002) - Pertenencia de grupo étnico". Instituto Nacional de Estadística. 2002. Archived from the original on 5 June 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-27.