Semana Santa Processions Palm Sunday to Good Friday – Antigua, Guatemala

This post is part 3 of 6 in the series Semana Santa in Antigua, Guatemala

Semana Santa starts on Palm Sunday and runs through Easter Sunday and the folks in Antigua, Guatemala cram a lot into that week with dozens of processions at all hours of the day and night and thousands of participants of all ages. The processions often overlap so you have to make hard choices about which ones to focus on. Here are highlights from the processions between Palm Sunday and Good Friday.

Women selling special Palm Sunday decorations in front of the La Merced church in Antigua, Guatemala as Semana Santa begins.

Semana Santa processions between Palm Sunday and Good Friday

The whole week is about telling the story of Jesus’ crucifixion which is symbolically re-enacted on Good Friday. During the processions between Palm Sunday and Good Friday Jesus is everywhere and many people wear purple. Processions after Good Friday are more somber–Jesus is nowhere to be seen (until Easter Sunday) and purple clothing is replaced with black.

The images in the collection, below, were taken during various processions in Antigua, Guatemala between Palm Sunday and the start of Good Friday.

Click any image below to see a larger version.

One of the first Semana Santa processions we saw was a children’s procession.

We were lucky to find some space inside the San Felipe church on the fringes of Antigua where we got to see the very first moments of their procession as the enormous float, called an anda, was carried out of the church by 80 men who walked over an elaborate carpet called an alfombra which the faithful created using colored wood chips, precise stencils, and a lot of patience.

A Semana Santa procession from the San Felipe church begins inside the Santuario del Apóstol where 80 men carry a huge float over a handmade alfombra “carpet” made of colored sawdust, then out onto the streets of Antigua.

A Semana Santa procession from the San Felipe church begins inside the Santuario del Apóstol where 80 men carry a huge float over a handmade alfombra “carpet” made of colored sawdust, then out onto the streets of Antigua.

Part of a procession during Semana Santa in Antigua, Guatemala

Click any image below to see a larger version.

During most processions a float carrying the Virgin follows the float carrying Jesus. The Virgin’s float is always carried by women.

Everyone knows an army marches on its stomach. Men portraying Roman centurions take a break for lunch during a Semana Santa procession in Antigua, Guatemala.

Our video, below, shows a procession leading up to Good Friday during Semana Santa in Antigua, Guatemala.

The enormous floats carried through Antigua during Semana Santa processions are awkward and heavy. Making it around tight corners as the processions move through town requires team work and exact choreography, as this slide show demonstrates.

Go deeper into this fascinating annual event in our complete series of posts about Semana Santa in Antigua, Guatemala

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Series Navigation:<< Semana Santa Processions Good Friday through Easter Sunday – Antigua, GuatemalaThe Alfombras of Semana Santa – Antigua, Guatemala >>

5 Comments

  1. Raymond May 2, 2011 at 8:06 pm - Reply

    Oh you know I was waiting for these! Great pix!!

  2. Dave and Deb May 8, 2011 at 1:05 pm - Reply

    These are amazing photographs. I so want to see this Procession one day. Each time I read your posts I want to explore Central America more. Thanks for the information.

  3. Suzy May 9, 2011 at 12:21 am - Reply

    Once again, I am blown away by the rich colors in your photography. I guess Semana Santa makes for a good subject matter though.

  4. deborah j martin April 3, 2012 at 2:12 pm - Reply

    I have been in beautiful Antigua, now I also enjoyed the celebration through your wonderful photos.
    Thank you!

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