Mayan Queens

A photoessay by Rodrigo Abd

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Mayan queen

These pictures were taken Friday, July 29, 2011. The women pose for the pictures during the Rabin Ajau National Folkloric Festival in Cobán, Guatemala. Unlike traditional beauty contests, during the Rabin Ajau, or Queen Daughter, the panel of judges not only value the participants’ leadership skills, but their commitment to the rescue and maintenance of Mayan values. The contestants, whose ages range from 14-26 years, go through numerous rounds of competition, including a speech that must be given in their native dialect and Spanish.