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holy week elements

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Holy Week Elements: Dolorosas






With this picture of the dolorosas or hermanas cargadoras, the women who carry the smaller floats of the Virgin Mary or other …




Holy Week Elements: Alfombras






The processional carpets are among the most creative and colorful elements of the Holy Week in La Antigua Guatemala. In this case, …




Holy Week Elements: Timonel






Here’s your Holy Week Spanish word for the day: Timonel The timonel is the person at the front of the processional float …




Holy Week Elements: Cucuruchos






Purple or violet is the color of Lent and the Holy Week. Cucuruchos, bearers, wear their cone-head purple robes as a sign …




Holy Week Elements: Tren de Aseo






As I walked the streets of the Antigua Guatemala villages I noticed the neighbours sweeping aways the carpets from Palm Sunday since …




Holy Week Elements: The Churches






Churches serve as terminals from which processions depart or arrive. Churches also serve as home-base for all the brotherhoods of cucuruchos and sisterhoods. Churches also put their best face for the Holy Week and many get a paint job and/or restoration works in the weeks prior to Semana Santa.

With this photo we wave goodbye to Semana Santa and to Holy Week’s processions. I was told the last procession, the Resurrection (Resurección) procession comes out on Easter Sunday (today) a 6 a.m. and its back in the church by 10 in the morning.







Holy Week Elements: The Sorrowful Mother






La Dolorosa or The Sorrowful Mother is the biblical figure of sorrowful mother Mary which follows Jesus in his way to his crucifixion. This act is represented by a smaller anda (long carved wooden flatbed image-carrying float [*]) —carrying the effigy of sorrowful Mother Mary and other female biblical representations— which is hauled exclusively by women who mostly dress in black or white as this is the appropriate dress code for a funeral. Jesus’ funeral.







Holy Week Elements: The Cross






Nevertheless, Good Friday is the culmination of the Holy Week Celebrations and the processions end at the Calvario Church (Calvario is the Spanish word for Calvary or Golgotha). The entrance of the Calvario Church in La Antigua Guatemala is a yellow façade with three arches, topped by three bells and three crosses —one larger than the other two— with a very large concrete cross in front. Can you see the obvious architectonic reference to Jesus’ crucifixion?







Holy Week Elements: Cucuruchos






Cucuruchos with their purple or violet cone-head dress are another prominent element of Semana Santa in Antigua Guatemala. Last week, Santiago Durham asked what its the significance of the color purple or violet in the dress and banners during Semana Santa, well it took a lot of digging to find out (I turned around and asked my office coworker), but I can now tell you the purple is worn as a sign of penitence. As a matter of fact, processions are a sign of penitence as well, heck the whole Semana Santa is a penitent act.







Holy Week Elements: The Making of the Carpets






The making of carpets from sawdust, pine-needles, flowers, vegetables is a community-forming tradition. People get together by block or near-by neighbors to create the carpets on which the processions will pass by. Sometimes the making of the carpets is done at night, all night so they are ready for next day’s procession.







Holy Week Elements: Sawdust Carpets






The making of sawdust carpets (alfombras de aserrí­n) with its vivid colors and eye-catching patterns are among the most prominent elements of the Holy Week celebrations. You can come back all this week to see other samples of carpets made with flowers and fruits and vegetables.