‘Semana Santa‘, the Holy Week leading up to Easter Sunday, starts on the ‘Viernes de Dolores‘ (Friday of Sorrow and Pain). We were in Guatemala many years ago to witness this religious festival.
We started in Guatemala City on Palm Sunday (the Sunday before Easter Sunday), and fronds of palm flowers with their heavy sweet fragrance were laid out in all the churches. The scent of the flowers grew more pungent as the week wore on. Other types of palm flowers were also used for decoration, these on an entrance to a small church at our next stop in Panajachel.
A child pilgrim during Semana Santa. Child pilgrims make their way through Panajachel on Lake Atitlan in Guatemala.
It was in Antigua where the week of the Santa Semana reached the height of the celebrations. Multiple processions of robed pilgrims carried heavy platforms, from villages miles away, came into the city where the streets were spread with carpets of coloured sawdust and flowers.
People had worked on these carpets throughout the night, only for the honour of being destroyed by the procession. The carpets of coloured sawdust are respectfully destroyed as the pilgrims carry the heavy platforms through pre-defined routes.The pilgrims take turns carrying the heavy platforms. These men rush for liquids after their hot long march from their villages into the city of Antigua, Guatemala. The purple robes were worn every day of the Semana Santa except for Good Friday when they wore black, and Easter Sunday when they wore white and gold. Each procession began with pilgrims swinging incense burners, walking alongside the carpets…Near the end of the processions come the Romans with their horses playing their part in the passion play representing the last week of the life of Jesus Christ.The platforms often had scenes of the life from the life of Christ on them.They ran on through the night lit up by lights.The lead-in for the platforms, smoky incense everywhere…
This church collapsed in earthquake a few hundred years ago and has been left in its collapsed state.It was lit up for Good Friday…
Purple is the colour of Easter in Guatemala, and these flowers have obliged.The Passion Flower, Passiflora mexicana, truly is the flower that symbolizes the death of Christ.