Monday, May 16, 2011

Easter Processions during Semana Santa, in Antigua (with a video!)

Oh, dear readers, I've not abandoned you. But I feel like I have. Most of you have no idea when I last wrote or where I even am. But it's my feeling, dang it, and I can cling to it if I want. I mentioned procrastination the last time I wrote (as if you even read my letters!) so that's off the table. Geesh - I'm speechless. My good intentions when I came on this trip (I'm in Guatemala, thanks for asking) was to write more, photograph more, and generally be engaged and engaging. It hasn't worked out that way.

Enough of that nonsense, and on to other nonsense. Semana Santa, which means Holy Week, (Easter to the rest of us) is a Big Deal in Antigua. It's famous for its giant processions that weave their way through the cobblestone streets of the city. Locals sign up to carry huge floats on their shoulders, as you'll see in the VIDEO (whoa!) and photos below. I'm worn out watching a procession for half an hour, but they run from a few hours to 18 hours in length. The tradition comes from Spain, where it was it really got going in 1521 when some noble or other returned from the Holy Land and wanted to initiate a "stations of the cross" walkathon. It doesn't appear to be spread evenly through Latin America, by any means, although someone mentioned that they got in a massive traffic jam in the Mission District of San Francisco during a procession. Who knew.

Look for more photos soon, lovely people.

Hugs and besos,

The video I created, using footage from my Canon 7D camera. It took a long time to make this - you need to watch it!

Gettin' jiggy with it, marimba style, on the the town square.
2011_03_27_1437.JPG (720×482)

Such a beautiful face.
2011_03_27_1442.JPG (720×480)

2011_03_30_1457.JPG (720×480)

These "alfombras," or carpets, are made on the routes of the processions. This one is made with pine needles, sawdust, colored egg containers, and flowers. They're swept up immediately after the procession walks over them.
2011_04_17_1469.JPG (720×480)

A hat vendor. Or maybe he just really hates the sun.
2011_04_17_1471.JPG (720×480)

I was kind of excited when I saw the first one of these purple guys wandering around. He wasn't alone...
2011_04_17_1475.JPG (720×480)

Yikes. It's a convention.
2011_04_17_1481.JPG (720×480)

The colors of the outfits change. In the early days of the celebration, they wear the purple, then on Good Friday everyone is in black. In the distance you can see the float.
2011_04_17_1487.JPG (720×480)

I'm not sure of the center guy's role, but they usually look like they're doing their best to steer the float. At times they're pushing pretty hard one way or the other.
2011_04_17_1494.JPG (720×480)

2011_04_17_1495.JPG (720×480)

Women carry separate floats, of course. And they're always behind the men's float. Of course.
2011_04_17_1509.JPG (720×480)

They look like they take it pretty seriously.
2011_04_17_1511.JPG (720×480)

I'm loving the hairstyle, and general grooviness.
2011_04_17_1516.JPG (720×480)

2011_04_17_1518.JPG (720×480)

There were floats carried by really young children, but their parents were huddled so close to them I couldn't get a photo. These girls look to be maybe 13-ish.
2011_04_20_1532.JPG (720×480)

2011_04_20_1538.JPG (720×480)

Lawrence of Antigua.
2011_04_20_1540.JPG (720×480)

Roman soldiers at the head of one of the processions.
2011_04_20_1543.JPG (720×480)

Good Friday.
2011_04_23_1609.JPG (720×480)

2011_04_23_1613.JPG (720×480)

2011_04_23_1615.JPG (720×480)

2011_04_23_1619.JPG (720×480)

(The End)