Marzo 2008



Semana Santa


Easter (Semana Santa, the Holy Week) in Antigua, Guatemala.  The normal population of Antigua, 40,000, increases to 100,000 on weekends, when people come from Guatemala City to spend the weekend, eat in restaurants, etc, but it swells to 500,000 at Easter ... the processions and the carpets they walk through, are a sight to see, totally unique in the world.

This is the Palm Sunday (Domingo de Ramos) procession passing our house at Easter.  Our house is the orange-yellow building to the left, with hanging lamps, partly obscured by a tree.  You can click on the image and will be taken to another page, where you can see an animated view of the procession, but because it is a large file, it will take a while to load.  There were many processions during Lent.  On Palm Sunday, there were two.  Wednesday, there was a children's procession.  Jueves Santo, Holy Thursday, there were two more.  On Easter Friday, Viernes Santo, the big procession of La Merced started at 6 am and passed our house at 6:30, winding its way along the whole town.  The morning procession was all in purple, but by the afternoon, with Christ already dead on the cross, the clothes changed to black.  The morning procession destroyed hundreds of elaborate carpets made of sawdust, flowers and vegetables that people have been making the previous night.  No problem, people started making new carpets, ready for the three processions that started at 3 or 4 in the afternoon and returned back to base well after midnight.  Most of the floats are followed by mobile generators, so they can be illuminated while traversing Antigua. Saturday, two more processions by women only and another on Easter Sunday!

The procession is followed by the BIG CLEAN-UP.  The Municipal workers and trucks sweep and clean the streets so that a few minutes after the procession passes, it is spotless.  Remember that many processions go around and around for 10-12 hours or longer, so the clean-up is a BIG job.  You can see how a set of carpets disappears and the street is back to normal.  The file is large ... it will load soon!


This is the same procession, Semana Santa 2003 (the animated view takes a moment to load!).  This was carried by 80 men and one little boy.  Click here to see the float that followed, carried by 40 women.

Click to see our photos of Semana Santa Carpets
  This page was last updated on 02/21/19