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