After the horrendously long and arduous journey back to Antigua, the efforts to get back on the Saturday night became altogether worth it when we learned that there would be a pre-Semana Santa procession in Antigua on the Sunday afternoon.

Strangely enough, I was in Antigua on this very day two years ago, and knew just how ornate, and involved the processions during the period of lent could be.  Since this was Francesco’s last day in Guatemala, I was especially happy for him that he was going to get to see this.

After a deliriously relaxing and therapeutic massage in the morning, I met up with the boys who were returning from a climb up Volcan Pacaya (gluttons for punishment after 3 days of hiking!) for a guilt and brocolli-free lunch of non-Guatemalan origins.

We wandered the streets of Antigua enjoying the beautifully ornate carpets of flowers and colored sawdust that adorned the parade route.  Hundreds of men walked the streets decked out in their bright purple regalia.

The procession itself consisted of marching bands, hundreds of men in purple, and two giant altars carrying depictions of Jesus’ road to Calvary and of Mary’s ascension to heaven, the latter being carried by women.  All the while, giant bowls of incense are burned and swayed causing a pungent sensory accompaniment.

The whole spectacle is remarkable, especially when you witness the procession completely destroying the oh-so-carefully crafted carpets of flowers in its wake.


Where: Antigua

When: 20th March

If you’d like to see the rest of the photos from the procession, click here