Here’s you Spanish word of the day: Cuaresma or Lent.
Once again, from the early morning reports started to pour in, around 6 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, alerts were coming in from all over Antigua Guatemala and beyond.
People driving their cars were also 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 ; 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 who bore them why in the worlds everything seemed to continue 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.
© 2016, Rudy Girón. All rights reserved.