I promised to post some photos of Antigua's Semana Santa, Holy Week celebration. I have already written a blog about this celebration, but it is nearly impossible to imagine without photos. Thousands of Antiguenens participate in this celebration, both walking with the processions and creating alfombras, carpets in the street. Some of the alfombras are shown in the slideshow below. They are made of pine needles and flowers, fruits and vegetables or colored sand applied to stencils. The designs are watered to keep them in place and fresh. The processions carrying Jesus and Mary walk through these beautiful carpets which are then destroyed by their passage.
During the first days of the holy week, children are major participants, with the boys and men wearing purple robes and the girls wearing white. The women mostly wear black. A part of being in the procession involves carrying the elaborate statutes which tell the story of Jesus's last week. The men carry Jesus and the women carry Mary. The heaviest of these floats weighs 2 tons. Moving these enormous scenes, especially around corners, involves tremendous care and coordination of effort. All processions are accompanied by more incense (copal) than I have ever inhaled in my life, partly due to the enthusiastic boys swinging the incense censors.
Louise "Luisa" Wisechild, PhD
I first visited Guatemala in 1995 as a member of the Vashon Island sister city delgation to Santiago de Atitlan, Guatemala.