Sunday, April 4, 2010

Semana Santa Processions. Easter Sunday at Iglesia San Pedro.



Today was a day of joyous celebration for it was the day that all of Antigua celebrated the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and I was lucky to have been a part of it.

Only one procession was scheduled and that was the one leading out of San Pedro Church.

The group arrived at the church shortly before 1pm. As expected, a throng of people had already gathered in and around the church.

Two alfombras lined the procession route out of the church.  Flanking the entrance to the church were a group of severely disabled persons sitting in wheelchairs.  These were patients in the hospital that adjoins the church.

























San Pedro Church on the left; the hospital on the right.  This small church was one of my favorite
landmarks in Antigua.  Such a small, yet beautiful church - the facade is just exquisite.


To celebrate the happy event, there was a man standing on the balcony of the bell tower, tossing down confetti.






As the float made its way out of the church, confetti rained down from above.  The crowd clapped and broke out in a roar of cheers.  It was hard not to get swept up in the moment.  I felt goosebumps all over.

























As we had seen many times before, the procession trod over the alfombras.







































Valiant videotaped the procession leaving the church.  Though I had seen a few processions by now, watching this last one was just as thrilling as watching the first one.

Today, both men and women shared the duties of carrying the single float and everyone was just dressed in street clothes.
Before you knew it, we started to follow the procession down the block. No longer observers, we were now part of the event. I soon found myself walking alongside a nun. Don't know how that happened but she was passing out yellow flags - pieces of yellow plastic that had been stapled onto strips of bamboo. You can't say no to a nun so graciously took the flag when she handed it to me. I thanked her. I think that was appropriate.
The procession making its way through the streets.  The yellow arches are the Tanque de la Unión which are public
washbasins that are used by Antiguenos to do their laundry.
Everybody wanted to try and touch the float.

Somehow, we ended up walking between the float and the band.  The band was tooting out marching music which
seemed to put a bit of pep in everyone's step :-)
Thanks to Valiant, we have a videotape of the band as it played and marched along the procession route. We walked along with the procession for several blocks.  People were lined up all along the parade route.  Cheers erupted as the procession passed by them.  It was such an amazing experience to be a part of it all.  I now understand why people want to participate in all this.
Of all of us though, it was Ernie who really wanted to be so close that he could actually touch the float. Slowly, he inched his way through the moving crowd and for a split second, he placed his hand on the float. He was so happy....perhaps a small wish fulfilled.  I was very happy for him.
We eventually left the procession.  By now, it was nearing lunchtime and we were getting hungry.  Besides, we had a special birthday to celebrate and I wanted to make sure everything happened according to plan :-)