Holy Week in Quetzaltenango
Procesión Catedral, Quetzaltenango 2008 (photo: Harry Díaz/www.flickr.com/harrydiaz)
Colorful and solemn processions will traverse many streets in Central America during Semana Santa (Holy Week) with La Antigua Guatemala’s commemoration of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection among the most elaborate in the World.
(photo: Harry Díaz/www.flickr.com/harrydiaz)
Each church has its own procession featuring a massive float (anda
) carried on the shoulders of as many as 80 colorfully-robed church members (cucuruchos
). Residents meticulously arrange ornate carpets (alfombras
) on the streets outside their homes, businesses or schools, over which the processions will trod. Brightly colored sawdust (aserrín
) is the main ingredient of the carpets, with flower petals, fruit and vegetables in abundance.
Lasting from one to 12 hours, processions wind through the streets while musicians walk behind the andas playing mournful dirges as the smell and smoke of incense swirls through the air.