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.
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Such a beautiful face.
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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.
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A hat vendor. Or maybe he just really hates the sun.
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I was kind of excited when I saw the first one of these purple guys wandering around. He wasn't alone...
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Yikes. It's a convention.
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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.
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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.
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Women carry separate floats, of course. And they're always behind the men's float. Of course.
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They look like they take it pretty seriously.
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I'm loving the hairstyle, and general grooviness.
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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.
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Lawrence of Antigua.
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Roman soldiers at the head of one of the processions.
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Good Friday.
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(The End)


Scott Underwood said...

 Lovely work. Thank you for sharing. 

Lperlstadt said...

 Awesome Davemo!  Nice to hear from you and as always, fantastic photos and a very cool video!  We miss you.  Lori

leonard martin said...

  Dave -
This was super!
When you get "home", please call (925 736 3300) - I'm loking forward to "breaking bread", and hearing about some of your experiences.

Best regards,


LynO said...

You are okay for a boy.  Murphys is pretty exciting too you know.  We've got our Murphys' Days (or day).  Frog Jump is this week. .....  But..........   Seriously, I want to do an entire wall of my favorite pictures you have taken (well, maybe an entire town).......  Yep, you are pretty amazing .... for a boy, that is.  Love you., Lyn "B" Woishnis 

Joanne said...

that blew me away... I am speechless. u are f___ingunbelievable,,, that is alI I have to say. love
you, Joey.

Rgrossbard26 said...

Love the video Dave ... and the pictures. And it's so nice to hear from you.

Stephanie Dale said...

Lawrence of Antigua is one of my faves - fabulous photos as always, Davemo!  The hooded guys in the video are a bit scary - shades of the KKK. All so serious. I did like the juxtopositions - guy wearing traditional garb, but cell phone glued to his ear. You really captured the event. Hugs to you from all of us here - so glad to hear from you again!

Dawn (Bodhi's mom) said...

Thank you, DaveAdair, for enriching my life with your fantastic pictures and humorous writings. I always look forward to your postings. 

Gflores said...

Great as usual Davey.  You take the best childrens' pics.  Take care.  We miss you


Lauren said...

It's so amazing - after hearing them described - to see the processions, Davemo!  WOW!  And the Antigua version sure is different from what we experienced in the Pueblo, no?  Wow.  Love the video, too.  Thanks!

Dave Adair said...

Thanks, everyone, for the nice comments about this post. I'm hoping I'll post more regularly than I have been. Cheers to all of you!

Michelle said...

Dear David
Beautiful! I am Wowwwed! And want to talk about the depth of intent and symbolism.

Stevie said...

Okay, it took 15 minutes to view it here in Cartagena, but it was worth every second!!  Awesome video. You're inspiring me to finally learn how to use some sort of editing software. Perfect song choice too  -Stevie

Dave Adair said...

Thanks Stevie. I'm glad you liked it. This was one of my first videos, and I want to start making them more regularly. It's so different than still photography, but can be so engaging. I just used the free Windows Live Movie Maker software, which is quite limited. I'm going to look into a more advanced program. Happy travels!