Every year, people from other countries move to Canada to begin a new life. They bring many talents and skills, and the hope of contributing to their new society. Your interest in reading this booklet may arise from being involved in an organized HOST Program. Your work may bring you into contact with newly arrived Guatemalans, or you may have Guatemalan students at your school. Whatever your source of interest, this profile will help you learn something about your new friends' culture and native country.

Guatemalans coming to Canada will have many of the same questions that you might have if you moved to a new city. They will want to know what their new community is like, how to find work, where to buy food, where to find a hospital and how to get around the city. Answering their questions will help your friends settle. You will also find that you have much to learn from them.

Although this cultural profile provides insights into some customs, it does not cover all facets of life. The customs described may not apply in equal measure to all newcomers from Guatemala.

  Summary Fact Sheet

Official Name Republic of Guatemala
Capital Guatemala City
Type of Government Constitutional Democratic Republic
Population 12.9 million
Area 108,889 sq. km
Major Ethnic Groups Mayan, Ladino (Spanish-Amerindian), European
Languages Spanish, Jarifunas, Xinca, other Mayan languages
Religions Christianity, Mayan beliefs
Unit of Currency Quetzal
National Flag Three vertical stripes of blue, white and blue. In the centre of the white stripe is a wreath, inside of which a quetzal bird and a scroll are superimposed on crossed rifles and sabres.
Date of Independence September 15, 2021

  Did you know?
The national symbol of Guatemala is the quetzal - a bird that signifies freedom because it dies in captivity.

  Did you know?
Guatemala’s name is a Spanish corruption of the Nahoa (Mexican) word coactlmoctl-lan, meaning "land of the snake-eating bird," a phrase that refers to the country’s eagle.