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Another Day in Guatemala...
Our travels over spring break took us back to some of our favorite places in Guatemala.
Throughout Antigua, a colonial town near the capital, are ruins of old churches, whitewashed walls covered in Bouganvilla, and cobblestone streets. During Holy Week (Semana Santa) there are processions throughout the towns as each village honors its patron saint and the death and resurrection of Christ.
Easter Sunday was the best procession because they have the right idea when it comes to celebrating the resurrection, in that, they really celebrate it! The Sunday service is a procession through the streets of the town that leaves the church in a burst of fireworks and confetti as the people sing and shout "Jesus lives!" About 50 people carry a float with the risen Lord on top and as they pass through the streets they walk over flower carpet that the families on the streets have made for the king to "walk over". The streets still look pretty afterwards with all the colored sawdust between the cracks of the cobblestone. It is pretty cool and lasts about 5 hours from beginning to end. No Easter dresses or candy or lunch at Cracker Barrel, but I think it was better! You can see the video from last year at
You could see all kinds of people participating and the "carpets" were made from everything from flowers, fruit, candy, and colored sawdust. It is exciting to see that families were involved and passing down the traditions to their children.
The many faces of Guatemala can be seen in the streets.
Sometimes the procession "floats" are carried by the men and other times by women or children.
We stopped to visit a local macadamia nut farm outside of Antigua to see the process. The farm was all operated with old time equipment and no electricity, and run by a retired gentleman out of California who had learned the process in Costa Rica. You could get macadamia facial cream, cookies, and of course the nuts!
They were very proud of their indoor/outdoor bathroom which made you feel like you were in the Garden of Eden instead of an outhouse.
Other sights around Antigua
It was a good day to see a volcano spew a little smoke (if you like that sort of thing!) and you can usually see a little lava as well if you are willing to do the hike to the top.
The monastery of St. Francis and his tomb is located in Antigua and a pretty tranquil place to walk through and relax, contemplating life.
A Weekend in Montericco
The beach is always a nice great away and an early morning flat bottom boat ride is a good way to welcome the day and see the birds.
The Ibis flew by overhead and there were Herons and other wading birds were fishing all throughout the mangroves. Some blend right into the grasses like the one below.
The coolest fish to see are the four-eyed fish that seem to skip across the water.
You wouldn't think there were so different types of bird at the beach, but they can be seen in all types of places. You can see why the Green Heron is called that when you can see him this close.
Montericco is know for its fishermen and they are out early in the morning casting their nets for shrimp. Because of the dry season, the water is only about two meters deep this time of year.
Up at the Lake
Going up to Lake Atitlan you get to see another type of scenery than the city or beach. There is lots of farming and small communities scattered all around the lake. We took the boat across the choppy water to visit the little villages.
Something you would only see this time of year were the "Judas" in the streets. People, mostly kids, dress up and parade a stuffed Judas around and collect donations. Most churches have a Judas out front as well, and then the Judas is symbolically burned on Good Friday.
Inside the church in Chichicastenago, they were getting ready for the Good Friday processions while we were there. Each village has a cofradia (brotherhood) that organizes and pays for the events each year. It is an honor and privilege to be a part of the procession and to be the family responsible for the costs.
It is always fun to see the local people and drive along the shoreline just enjoying the views.
We visited the village of San Antonio de Las Aguas where they are famous for their weaving. It really was beautiful but also expensive when it was just something pretty to look at! I really appreciate the hard work, intricacy of the patterns and designs, and the quality and hated to insult them with the price I could afford.
The local women weave all of the cloth and color the fibers themselves with natural materials.
You always think that they couldn't possibly fit one more person in the truck and then they stop and pick up someone else!
In the home of one of the cofradia members, there is a "shrine" for the year to the patron saint of the village and he is responsible for maintaining it. Usually it is decorated with fruits and local produce. Members and townspeople can visit throughout the year and leave donations toward the expenses of the events throughout the year.
We hope you enjoyed being a part of our travels and remember that Cristo Vive!
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