Werkin’ it for the camera
After a week of non-stop road tripping through El Salvador where we stayed at different hotels every night, Robert and I were looking forward to a relaxing weekend stay at the Posada del Angel in Antigua, Guatemala.
Antigua is an old Spanish colonial town and where much of its architecture is well-preserved and maintained. This quaint city’s charm comes from its colourfully painted buildings, cobblestone walkways and the sheer number of Spanish monuments at every twist and turn. When we found out that their annual Easter procession was taking place during our stay, we were so thrilled that we would be able to experience this holy event first hand.
The procession route was essentially one big convoluted loop from one end of the city and back. It moved extremely slow and would take approximately 12 hours to complete. Beautiful and intricate ‘carpets’ made of flowers, sawdust and grass lined the streets in preparation of the procession’s arrival.
The art of carpet-making is seen as sacrificial due to the months of planning and detailing dedicated to its creation, only to be destroyed by the procession of floats and marching bands passing over it. This symbolizes the people’s way of giving back something of themselves in memory of Christ’s death.
The procession also consists of big floats, or ‘andas’, which are carried by what appears to be a hundred purple-robed men (both on the side and underneath the float). They probably move about a metre a minute, swaying side to side in a synchronized fashion in order to balance the weight of the float and prevent the statues of Christ from toppling over.
A celebration is never complete without food! Outside one of the churches, a few dozen street food vendors set up shop to feed the thousands of hungry tourists that flock to Antigua to witness Holy Week. Everything from roast pork sandwiches, fresh mangoes, and chalupas was served, you couldn’t go wrong!
Robert and I went on to see the parade two more times in different parts of the city later on that day. The experience was unlike anything else and we didn’t want it to end! We may not have gotten that relaxing weekend that we wanted but it was worth it! Of the two weeks I was in Central America, this without a doubt takes the cake as the most memorable and authentic.