El Pepián- Guatemala’s Intangible Heritage
Pepián is a traditional stew that is commonly found throughout Guatemala and is a important part of the heritage of the nation. The stew has pre-Hispanic origins, and dates back to traditional Mayan religious ceremonies. After the arrival of the Spaniards to the area that is now Guatemala, ingredients of Arabic origin such as sesame seeds, chili, and pumpkin seeds were merged with the traditional flavors to create the dish that we now love and enjoy. Pepián may have chicken, beef, pork or a mixture of different meats along with a base of onions, garlic, peppers, rice, and the popular spice achiote.
On November 26th 2007, the Ministry of Culture & Sports of Guatemala declared pepián an intangible heritage of the nation. During the pre-Hispanic times the dish was served during large religious or political ceremonies and rituals and is now still expected as a ceremonial dish. You will likely find this delicious favorite served with tamales in restaurants and in the homes of Guatemalans.