Lent in Antigua Guatemala
The most impressive time of the year is here – Lent in Antigua Guatemala!
Holy Week begins Palm Sunday with the most incredible sawdust & flower carpet making throughout the streets of Antigua and the largest processions of the season.
Many ask, “Why do you do this?” Tradition, artistic expression and spiritual connection are the core to the answer. Guatemalans have been carrying out these traditions since the Spanish arrived in 1524 and have added their own expressions over the centuries. More than 100 Guatemalan funeral marches have been composed in recent years and it is common to have more than 100 musicians following the processions!
I love the carpets throughout the processional routes. Friends and families participate in creating their own designs in front of their house. Dyed sawdust, pine needles and an array of flowers, local fruits and vegetables are popular. These are completed moments before the floats with the Christ figure, Virgin Mary, St. John and Mary Magdalena are carried over them with the city dump trucks not far behind to pick up the trodden works of art.
The largest processions include the La Merced Palm Sunday, San Francisco Maundy Thursday, and processions on Good Friday departing from La Merced, San Jose Catedral, San Felipe and Escuela de Cristo. Each will have thousands of carriers who have signed up in advance to participate.
After the capital of Santiago de Guatemala was moved to the new location in 1773, Antigua was procession-free for 35 years beginning this tradition again in 1808. Each year it is ever more amazing and was featured this year in magazines including Architectural Digest and Forbes!
I will be conducting special tours this week. Author of Lent and Holy Week/Cuaresma y Semana Santa La Antigua Guatemala, I will incorporate years of touring experience and research in bringing these traditions to life for participants.
Contact us at www.antiguatours.net of visit one of our Antigua Tours offices in town.