Holy Week Elements: The Cross

Semana Santa Elements: The Cross

Thanks to Byron Ortiz for lending his photos of Semana Santa (Holy Week), so we can get a room with a view of the Holy Week Celebrations in La Antigua Guatemala.

This week we are running a mini-series: Elements of the Holy Week Celebrations in La Antigua Guatemala and its world-famous Semana Santa.

Holy Thursday and Good Friday? Where do these names come from? Maybe from the Borat film.

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?

Just before we close the window to the Holy Week Celebrations, I found this fabulous, detail-rich description, spiced with insider’s information, about the whole ritual of Semana Santa by Lito Galvan. Here are a couple sample paragraphs to entice you to follow the link and read the entire piece.

A Lenten celebration spent in Guatemala is beyond doubt exhilarating. True to seasoned travelers’ tale, Holy Week or Semana Santa exceeds everyone’s wildest spiritual expectation.

The event kicks off on Palm Sunday with the blessing of the palms then starts a climactic crescendo leading to Good Friday crucifixion, retreating into a hiatus on Black Saturday – in theory, and finally bursting into a culminating finale on Easter Sunday.

The Guatemalan stunning flashes of tradition and pageantry can be observed in: (1) palm blessing and display; (2) window dressing on homes and churches; (3) spectacular street carpet decorating along the processional route; (4) and the passionate procession of grand ecclesiastical images.

… read the entire piece at

Lito Galvan’s Dressing-Up for Semana Santa – Antigua, Guatemala

It is an interesting and funny surprise to have somebody list some of the elements of the Holy Week Celebration in Antigua Guatemala two years ago, along with the most complete description of the Semana Santa I’ve seen online. Certainly, there is nothing new under the sun. I take my hat off to Lito.

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