Breaking News: Ash Wednesday In Antigua

Ash Wednesday In Antigua Guatemala

pushwigh#@%&?¿… blip! Alert, alert, we break from our regular programing Details, details, details to bring you this important news update.

From early in the morning, around 8 a.m., there were sightings of hundreds, no, make it thousands of people with dark markings in their foreheads. The first sightings were reported near the church of San Francisco El Grande, right after the mass service, but by 9 o’clock in the morning, reports were coming in from all over Antigua Guatemala.

People driving their cars were seen with this strange dark mark in their foreheads. Soon students, children, elderly people, workers, everywhere you looked there were these markings. There were gatherings of tourists to discuss what in the world could be the cause of the markings considering that people continue their lives like usual, like if they were not aware of the marks in their foreheads, which, believe me, were pretty obvious.

By noon, even tourists visiting the Top City of Antigua Guatemala were experiencing these marks that looked like crosses drawn very hastily. There were even reports in Twitter from Antigua Guatemala’s wireless internet cloud at Central Park. Like a pandemic, by late afternoon, the twit reports were coming in from all over the world turning the news into a Twitter trend; with updates every few seconds.

Finally, an unspecified number of adventurous travelers found the courage to approach some of the marked foreheads and asked the people the bore them why in the worlds everything seemed to continue as business as usual even though there were very obvious marks in their heads. The response came in with a wonderful smile and the marked people informed the unaware tourists that today was Ash Wednesday, which was observed by going to mass and by having their foreheads painted with an ash cross. They also said that Ash Wednesday was the beginning of Lent, the 40-day penitent period before the Holy Week.

Please, send in your reports from your part of the world and share with us your impressions regarding this fairly unknown Catholic ritual.

Ash Wednesday 2 In Antigua Guatemala

© 2009 – 2016, Rudy Girón. All rights reserved.

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  • Great post.

  • LOL I was seeing these marks on peoples heads all over yesterday here in the states and thought i was going crazy, “none where a well defined cross” just looked like dirt. well now i Know thanks.

  • Thomas Wheeler

    Rudy:
    This post You can see any where in the world where you will find the Catholic Church , How ever this post is great from the standpoint of bringing to peoples attention that Lent has started Thank You Very Much Sincerely Thomas

  • Fairly unknown Catholic ritual? Even my WASP friends in south Alabama know that Papists get the ashes once a year!

  • Having gone to Catholic primary school, and then Convent school I rememder the ritual very well. The mass was still performed in Latin in the 1960s in England and had all the ceremory intact . I particulary remember the aroma of inscense, the griity feel of ash on my forehead, the deep purple robes of Easter, and being given a Palm cross for Palm Sunday. It was too overwhelming for a kid- I used to faint regularly just to add to the drama.

  • Rachel

    Yes, it appears to be a pandemic!

  • Joan

    This is not obscure. I would say it is a well know ritual for other churches, too, such as Episcopal and some other Protestant churches. Also lots of protestant churches around the world are starting to recongnize and observe Lent even if they don’t do all the rituals. I saw lots of ashes on forheads all day yesterday here in California. Thanks for showing there are lots in Antigua goo. The ashes are often from the Palms burned and blessed from the previous year’s Palm Sunday.

  • Valerie

    Unknow? What? I thought everyone knew about Ash Wednesday! Of course, I am Catholic.

  • @Everyone, I was being sarcastic and humorous about the relatively unknown Catholic ritual. Sorry for not being as obvious as I thought I was being. 😉

  • donna

    Hi Rudy-

    I wonder if you could help us out. I got a photo taken in Antigua at a film/photo store. I think it was by Nim Pots. By any chance does this ring a bell? I have friend traveling who wants to get a family picture done while they are there and I can not remember the name of the store.

    Thanks for any help you can give!

    • @Donna, I believe you are referring to Estudio Solis, which is the only photo lab on Calle del Arco. It should be about one block away from NimPot, on the same block as La Fonda de la Calle Real on Calle del Arco, of course.

  • Ha Don Rudy, you are trying to save face? You remind me of the chapin who has emigrated to the north and when he comes back he asks what is that, when given a glass of atol de elote.
    @Donna: I bet Rudy can give your friends a better deal and a more authentic souvenir. 😀

    • @emromesco, sure I was saving face… shoot, you caught me. Of course I knew about Ash Wednesday, but I was reporting the news. 😉

  • Fun post Rudy! 🙂

  • Erika

    shoots! I forgot to go to church on wednesday! Oh well…

  • donna

    THanks guys-I had every intention of giving Rudy’s info to my friend at the same time as giving the studio’s. I Really appreciate the info. I hate not remembering something like that, when it was so important to my family as well. Again-thanks!

  • denna

    my kids will come home from Catholic school (in Western Canada) with ashes today….I am not Catholic and would like to know more about this tradition…..

    • denna

      wish I was in Antigua today, instead of here, watching a blizzard of snow outside my windows!! 🙂

  • Lectric.Chuck

    Not so unknown to us in the US! We are having our Ash Wednesday service tonight and the ash comes from the burning of the palms from last year’s Palm Sunday. Our Savior came to die and is risen!