Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Seeing purple

Semana Santa (Holy Week) is in full swing around these parts and while we do feel lucky to be living in such a beautiful place during such a huge event, we'll certainly be ready to get back to a tranquilo (calm) lifestyle when it all ends. Each weekend during lent leading up to Easter the catholic churches in the villages around Antigua have their ceremonies and processions. Little by little they get bigger, more elaborate and more frequent.

Last weekend San Bartolome (a village just right down the road from our home) had theirs. We knew it was going to be big, but neither of us understood just quite how big it would be. Around 8.30 am we wandered down to Callejon del Burrito (that's the next one over from us) to see if anyone was out and about making alfombras (flower carpets), and low and behold we met up with at least 1,000 others! What normally is a 10 minute walk took us about a hour. It was nice though, having it so close, but yet being able to escape to the peace in quiet on our street. We were actually walking in front of the procession and at one point I stopped to snap some photos and found myself in the middle of things. Oops! I darted out to the sidelines as fast as I could, but not without capturing this:

Who can resist a friendly Roman soldier (with what I know has to be a broom on his head)?

The alfombras were some of the best we have seen, although i'm sure this coming week we'll be in for a treat. There are all types, from very simple to super elaborate. At first the procession goes around them, but when the floats (for lack of a better word) come through, they go right over top, destroying hours and hours of hard work! It's all good though, since they all get blessed before being destroyed and swept up by the clean train (remember it?).

The rest of the day was pretty calm for us, as the procession made it's way in and around Antigua, that is at least until it came back through later that night. Of course the route was a bit different and on the return trip it actually came right by our cul-de-sac. Our nice neighbors (I say nice because they are honestly about the only nice ones) made their own alfombra, so of course we had to go out and see it. Later that night the procession passed by, band and all, at 1.15 am, bolting us both out of bed, we "appreciated" it for about 15 minutes before falling back asleep into dream land.

Aside from all the crowds and craziness that goes along with crowds, we're actually looking forward to the festivities this week. We'll keep you updated to the best of our abilities (the internet is down at our house, so blogging isn't so easy) so that you too can enjoy Semana Santa, wherever you are!

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