It’s that time of year again! When Easter rolls around in Guatemala, time slows, work is put aside, and everyone’s focus is on Semana Santa. Some flee the impending bustle of Antigua, using the time off work or school to opt for a more tranquil vacation spot, while others seek out the religious festivities with devotion. We at Uxibal hung around, partaking in one of the week’s favorite activities – making an alfombra.
Semana Santa (“Holy Week”) refers to the week leading up to Easter, and is a time to celebrate the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In Guatemala religious celebrations start as early as a month before Easter, with Semana Santa being the busiest of the celebration times.
The main focus during these celebrations is religious processions. Antigua’s cobblestone streets are covered with alfombras (“rugs”) made from sawdust, flowers, and more, coloring the path for the processions to occur. During the processions, floats depicting the last days of Jesus’ life are carried by people wearing mostly purple, a color symbolizing patience.
Whether you’re religious or not, Semana Santa is an interesting experience to behold and Antigua is known as being one of the hotspots for the celebration.
This Viernes Santo (the Friday during Semana Santa), one of the processions passed right in front of our Antigua shop, and we couldn’t help but getting involved by making an alfombra. Our neighbors at Roots juice bar provided pine, we brought flowers, and our employees, friends and family helped assemble the mandala masterpiece. While the roots of the celebration are in Christianity, we couldn’t help but notice similarities with other ideologies – making a mandala alfombra soon to be run over by the procession, representing impermanence.
Happy Semana Santa everyone!