Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Semana Santa in Antigua, Guatemala

The last day of April is as good as any for getting our Easter week pictures posted...we had a really great time in Antigua! Semana Santa was a unique (and sort of bizarre) experience. I've read that Antigua's celebration of Holy Week is the biggest in the world. I have no idea if that's true or not, but there were TONS of tourists (both Guatemalan & from overseas) in town to watch the festivities.

Each day of the week there is at least one procession (and often two) which spends 8 - 12 hours winding it's way through the cobbled streets of Antigua. Some of the processions begin in the morning or mid-day, others begin at dusk and some in the middle of the night.  Each procession takes a slightly different route and each route is "carpeted" with pine and sawdust creations in the hours leading up to the processions arrival. The procession just marches right over these works of art and a trash/clean-up crew immediately follows the procession making it seem as if nothing ever happened.

To me the processions were bizarre and borderline creepy.  Men & women dressed in hoods and cloaks (although they were usually purple or black in color they had an eerie resemblance to the wardrobe of the KKK) somberly carrying enormous plastic floats with replicas of events of the last days before Jesus' crucifixion. We also saw entire processions on horseback, dressed in full Romanesque costumes. It was interesting to say the least.

To top it off, it also had the feeling of being at a State or County fair:  vendors everywhere selling plastic toys, cotton candy, peanuts, etc, people drinking freely and wearing revealing clothing (I saw a ton of see-thru clothes, is that "in" now??!!?)

All in all, very glad to have had the opportunity to see this amazing event. It is definitely one of the things Guatemala is known for and it was really cool to be a part of it this year.

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