Semana Santa

The holy weeks leading up to Easter are marked by religious processions every Sunday in villages and cities across Guatemala. Some love it, others hate it – but all can agree that it is worth seeing once in a lifetime.

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Semana Santa is a chance to witness just how powerful mankind’s dedication to his faith can be. From morning to night, the streets vibrate with the somber roll of drums. Smoky, sweet incense lingers in the air. Men dressed in purple robes walk slowly, leading the way for the wooden anda. It’s hot… and the anda is heavy. It rocks back and forth, as the people shift their weight and slowly advance inch by inch, in their march. In memory of Jesus carrying the cross, participants wallk the whole of Sunday, alternating the burden and weight between them.

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What stands apart in this pageantry is the ephemeral alfombra ( carpet) made by locals that decorate and indicated the path of the procession. The rugs are made of dyed sawdust, flowers, vegetables- anything that can be used to create bright, colorful patterns. Families and friends wake up early on Sunday morning to prepare the rugs in the street, while passerbys look on and take photographs.

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Later, the procession will step on these patterns, leaving behind a trail of crushed and scattered color… and a reminder that Easter is one week closer.

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