In Antigua Guatemala, no matter what season, there is always a surprise, large or small, to be had when we walk out our front door. Among the more moving demonstrations are the processions that happen every Sunday leading up to Semana Santa or Holy Week.
The last three Sundays, our road, like many here, was closed off early in the afternoon. Our neighbors came out to dress our calle with lines of flowers: Snap Dragons, Baby’s Breath and rose petals, on beds of pine needles.
In all there must have been over three hundred people participating in the formal processions over each Sunday. There were: the waves of men robed in purple, the color representing the suffering of Christ and his royal place in the kingdom of heaven; the Roman soldiers with their lances and helmets done up with real broom ends; the Israelites; and the priests guiding the proceedings and who, for some reason, were wearing surgical gloves, a modern improvisation.
In preparation for Holy Week or Semana Santa is the Spanish term for Holy Week Antigua Guatemala is going through a transition. The color purple is on the front doors of most business and the Casa and Villa’s through Antigua Guatemala. Buildings are painted, street work is being completed and a feeling of anticipation and excitement is throughout Antigua.
Semana Santa along with the religious significance to Antigua and Guatemala is also a boom for Tourism for Antigua. Thousands of tourists flock to Antigua to see the week long series of events around Semana Santa and Holly Week. As I walk through the streets of Antigua over the last few weeks since the beginning of lent ever street I see new a shop, restaurant and bar preparing for Semana Santa and the influx of tourist dollars to Antigua for Semana Santa.
We plan to participate in many of the Parades and Celebrations around Semana Santa in Antigua. One aspect we plan to participate in is the making of the famed Antigua and Guatemala Carpets (“alfombras”)
On Good Friday our home is one of the major Parade or Procession routes, one will find streets of Antigua covered with aromatic carpets (alfombras) of vibrant and beautiful flowers, pines, clover, and fruits. Alfombras form intricate, delicate carpets on the street pavement for the processional route to walk on. Some are long—more than half a mile long—with religious, colonial, Mayan, Roman, or other original designs.
Next week we will give you a complete schedule of events for Semana Santa in Antigua Guatemala. A number of web sites have information about the events of Semana Santa in Antigua. We will attempt to make a clear and official schedule from information we are collecting from the Churches that participate in the 2012 Semana Santa schedule for Antigua Guatemala.