Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Semana Santa Processions. San Felipe de Jesús


On our way to dinner tonight, we saw procession heading towards us from the direction of Parque Central. What's more important, dinner or doing that once-in-a-lifetime thing of watching an amazing event unfold before your very eyes. Yeah, it was a no brainer decision. We hung around for the procession.  This was just the second one we had seen a procession since our arrival into town so every second of it was exciting to watch.


It was about 10pm and the it seemed like all of Antigua was out celebrating - the street was packed with men, women and children.  The stores and restaurants were all open. Street vendors were out selling food and souvenirs.  The place had a carnival like atmosphere to it and surprisingly, though it was crowded, it was very orderly.  I don't recall seeing any police in sight.

We secured ourselves some spots on the sidewalk outside the restaurant and waited for the procession to pass by.  The music started up and that signalled the procession to move.

The procession was led by a small contingent of Roman soldiers.


They were immediately followed by a set of small floats carried on the shoulders of a few men.


Then, the main float of Christ bearing the cross.  This was a very large float size - carried down the cobblestoned street by men dressed in purple robes.....the cucuruchos.


Every now and again, they would stop, take a few steps back and forth and sway right and left. Whenever they did that, I would find myself gasping....out of unfounded fear that the cucuruchos would drop the float.  I'm sure most of the men have done this before and I seriously doubt a float has ever been dropped but still, there's always the first time.  The voices in the video belong to my brother and I.  You can tell just how in awe we are of what we are seeing before our eyes.  It was truly amazing!


As the float with Jesus passed us, several in our group ran ahead to try and keep ahead of it.


I hung back to watch the float, with a figure of a weeping Virgin Mary atop, pass by.  This float was carried by women, dressed in black.


As each float passed by, there were men pushing a generator behind it. That's what powered the lights for each float. There are no fancy electronic geegads or computers running the floats. Just a small electric generator on wheels and human labor. Bringing up the rear was the band. Amazing!


We would very soon come to realize, this procession was just a taste of processions to come!  How this little town in Guatemala celebrates Holy Week is just mind boggling....in a very, very good way!!