Holy Week in Guatemala

Being in Guatemala during Semana Santa / Holy Week has been a wish of mine for a long time but my trips just never worked out to be here during that time. However, this year with the weaving tour coming in May and the fact that I needed to do some work with the artisans before I got busy with the weaving tour, I came a couple of weeks early and it coincided with Semana Santa.

Floral designs in dyed sawdust

I arrived in Antigua for Holy Thursday and enjoyed seeing the making of the beautiful ‘alfombras’ ( floral carpets) in the streets of Antigua which are made of flowers, tinted sawdust, vegetables and fruits. As you can see by the photos of these alfombras, a base of natural sawdust is layed down, then a layer of a tinted sawdust on top of that and then the intricate floral designs are laid down with the use of a wooden stencil.

Spraying water to keep the design from blowing away

using stencils to make the intricate designs

I missed out on seeing any of the processions because most of them are in the afternoon, evening and even in the early morning hours. On Good Friday the processions begin at 1 am at the La Merced Cathedral and the last procession of Good Friday is at 4pm but every day during Holy Week there are processions at one of the cathedrals in Antigua including Easter Sunday with the ‘Procesion de la Resurreccion.’

Even tourists get into the fun of making the 'alfombras'

Antigua gets upwards of 200,000 visitors for Semana Santa and the streets had more people in them than I have ever seen in all my visits to Antigua. It is amazing to hear all the different languages being spoken – I believe of the tourists were Europeans and people from the U.S. It is a wonderful city to visit and has been a unique experience for me to enjoy.

La Merced, Antigua


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