Sunday, March 14, 2010

March 14 - Santa Anna

Nowhere in Latin America is Semana Santa, (Easter week) which this year was from March 31 to April 4, celebrated with more gusto than it is in Antigua. Tourists flock in, the street are crowded beyond description, and the processions begin early in March.
Santa Ana is a barrio, or another town, I’m not sure which, about a 10 minute walk from the house where I stayed. Brian had told me I should visit. And so, I took the short journey, not knowing what I would find. I found what Brian could not have found because I walked into my first Semana Santa experience.
Everyone was busy using coloured sawdust, grass, flowers and fruit to make pictures depicting spring, Jesus and the resurrection.
“How strange,” I thought in a country without seasons to celebrate spring.”
Thousands of people flanked both sides of the street. I moseyed along, no sense in doing anything else, because anything else was impossible. I walked to the end of the street, about a mile uphill, not having a clue what I’d see when I got there.
Men, boys and male babies wore purple satin robes. The women and girls dressed in white. A very untalented band played a funeral dirge, and some purple robed men struggle with the coffin carrying a Jesus statue.
Behind the purple robed men and their coffin there was another band playing solemn music very badly. This time women dressed in white struggled to keep it upright. Then came a third band, this time men wearing black suits walked gravely behind.
At the end of what amounted to a huge funeral procession were men wearing lime green shirts who swept up the grass, sawdust, fruit and flowers. The pictures were gone.
I would learn later that the pictures represented carpets.

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