Today the whole Church mourns the death of our Savior. This is traditionally a day of sadness, spent in fasting and prayer. The title for this day varies in different parts of the world: “Holy Friday” for Latin nations, Slavs and Hungarians call it “Great Friday,” in Germany it is “Friday of Mourning,” and in Norway, it is “Long Friday.” Some view the term “Good Friday” (used in English and Dutch) as a corruption of the term “God’s Friday.” ["Viernes Santo" or Holy Friday in Antigua Guatemala] (source: CatholicCulture.org)
Do not underestimate the power of catholic imagery. You see, the world-famous Antigua Guatemala processions are about showing the devoted images as a reminder and representation of the crucifixion of Jesus. Revue Magazine has an article by Dwight Wayne Coop that chronicles how the Jesús Nazareno de la Merced was taken to Guatemala City in 1778 in order to force people to abandon Santiago de Guatemala (La Antigua Guatemala) in favor of the new capital Guatemala de La Asunción (Guatemala City).
Here’s a fragment of the chronicle, make sure your read the entire article which is funny, historical and an eye opener:
The killer quake that rattled Panchoy Valley (La Antigua) in 1773 led to the founding of a new capital in Ermita Valley in 1776. But even then, most Santiagans refused to move. Similarly, after Hurricane Hattie ravaged Belize in 1965, the government of Belize founded Belmopán—only to see the population of Belize City stay put.
The job of moving La Antigua’s masons, maids, porters and wet nurses to Ciudad Real (Guatemala City) fell in 1778 to viceroy Martín de Mayorga. His biggest card was the bond that Santiagans felt to Jesús Nazareno and to another wooden statue, Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes. Move these images, Mayorga reasoned, and you move the people. (source: Revue Magazine)
Also, today all Stations of the Cross altars will be open and many if not all procession will pay a visit to El Calvario Church, which is located on the southern outskirts of La Antigua Guatemala. El Calvario or Calvary (Golgotha) is the name of the mount on the outskirts of Jerusalem where it’s believe Jesus Christ was crucified. This church with its three arches provides a symbolic representation of the crucifixion; with each arch representing each cross.
Here’s a panoramic view of the culmination of the Good Friday procession as it enters the Antigua Guatemala cathedral.
Also, remember that you can check out what is happening during Holy Week in XelaDailyPhoto and GuatemalaDailyPhoto.
All photos by Leonel [Nelo] Mijangos