Happy Easter everyone! I hope you had a lovely time to relax with your loved ones. Easter is quite a big deal in Guatemala, as the country still has strong Catholic roots. Usually the weather gets pretty hot and people call it “summer”, before “winter” bring rain around May. So the city gets deserted by any family who can afford to go down to the beach for some sea fun and fresh air. We decided to stay in Guatemala City as we are at the beach all year long (even my lake gets invaded by loud jet skis and drunk party animals so it’s not the best time to be around), and enjoyed the Easter traditions.
One such big tradition is the flower and sawdust carpets people make on the floor so the religious processions can walk on them as they pass.
It takes hours to make a carpet, and the one you see here was in the center of Guatemala City, trying to beat the record of longest carpet in the world. It was about 2 miles long.
After the procession passes, the cleaning team is ready to wipe any trace of the temporary art.
The processions themselves are also a very strong tradition. People from any age participate.
They are part of a brotherhood and all dress the same, in purple or black generally.
They carry a holy image for almost 24 hours all around the historic center, starting and ending at their church. Notice the guy below that holds one of the many electric cables (top right) so the cross doesn’t get trapped.
Being chosen to carry is a privilege you have to pay a hefty sum for, and places are so limited they used to be inherited by the most respected of families.
They take turn in carrying every 10 minutes or so, and from their faces, it weights a lot.
This is the Holy Thursday procession where Christ carries his cross to be crucified.
There was also a kids procession
And a women’s one.
They were all dressed in white, then on Holy Friday they dress all in black.
This is Holy Friday’s procession going out of Antigua’s Cathedral. Antigua is a beautiful colonial town 30 miles away from Guatemala City. The processions there are huge and beautiful too.
They prepared beautiful flower beds in the street of the Arch, the most iconic of the city,
while the brotherhood carries a dead Christ lying with his mother and Mary Magdalena icons.
The colonial setting and incense cloud make for a very dramatic setting, as the procession goes to the sound of funeral marches.