First Vigil of Lent in Antigua Guatemala

First Vigil of Lent in Antigua Guatemala by Nelo Mijangos

This is the first vigil of the Lent season with its traditional stalls of chicken sandwiches, the batido drink and other meals which are the beginning of the most special and awaited seasons in Antigua Guatemala. —Nelo Mijangos

Ésta es la primera velación en el tiempo de Cuaresma que con las ventas tradicionales de panes con pollo, el típico batido y otras comidas se da inicio a una de las temporadas más especiales y esperada en La Antigua Guatemala. — Nelo Mijangos

Joy Houston explained the the present and historic significance and importance of vigils (velaciones), Lent (Cuaresma) and Holy Week (Semana Santa) in this article on Revue Magazine. Here’s a fragment of it, but it’s worth reading the entire piece:

In La Antigua Guatemala this means the beginning of vigils (velaciones) and processions, growing in size and frequency until the great crescendo of Holy Week when the town fairly explodes with fervor and devotion. It is a time of tradition when the sacred images of the churches are dramatically displayed and carried through the streets. The images, most of which date from the 16th to 18th centuries, are revered religious symbols, but they are antique art treasures as well.

The Spanish colonists who in 1543 introduced the first procession to the streets of Santiago de Los Caballeros, now La Antigua Guatemala, might be surprised to know that, not only does the tradition continue, but thousands of visitors come from all over the world to see and, perhaps, to share. As one parish priest put it, “If the tourists want to come, they are welcome. But that is not why we do this. For us, the processions are an expression of our faith.”

First Vigil of Lent in Antigua Guatemala by Nelo Mijangos

Schedules and routes are generally available at the INGUAT office in Casa del Turista, on 5a calle oriente two blocks east of Parque Central.

photos courtesy of Nelo Mijangos

© 2013 – 2016, Rudy Giron. All rights reserved.

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  • Luis

    I am already salivating for that hot chocolate being prepared like my mom used to make it but I still have to wait two months until my encounter with the delicious food outside La Merced Church.

    • Actually Luis, this is batido. You have to try it. Simply delicious.

  • Willy

    Nelo, great photos! The tortas have my watering as well! The photo of the nighttime food stands reminds me why Guatemala is such a great place and such a rich cultural experience for anyone living there or visiting. The cultural/historical information provided along with the pics is invaluable. Thanks. This website/blog is better than any textbook!

    • Hi Willy, you have to try the batido next time you come. It’s such a delicious beverage.

  • Eric

    Bien hecho, Nelo, buenas fotos. It’s nice to know you can take beautiful fotos on the ground, as well as in the air, ja-ja-ja ! It seems you and Rudy are conspiring to make every last reader of LAGDP hungry….

    • Yeah Eric, it is good that Nelo is always there to cover the Lent and Holy Week.