Antigua, the capital of Guatemala, is not just famous for
Spanish-learning in colonial surroundings; it's also the scene of a colourful spectacle at
The rituals begin on Palm Sunday but the main event is on Good
Not many people sleep on the Thursday night as groups of neighbours
get together to share the cost and effort involved in making the large street carpets
Many devotees will organise extra lighting and work through the night
to prepare their art work in time.
Beautifully Decorated Alfombras - Travel Notes
The most important Holy Week procession leaves La Merced at 7am,
on Good Friday.
The route is lined by men and boys wearing purple cassocks, and white
headdresses, while the crowd of onlookers wait patiently behind them.
The large model of a dark-skinned, red-cloaked, Christ and his cross
needs about seventy people to carry it.
The load is heavy and the day is hot, so the litter bearers will have
to be rotated throughout the procession.
When the litter emerges from La Merced, everyone kneels and a
prayer is said.
Incense burners march ahead of the flag-bearer and the Roman soldiers,
but only the litter bearing the Christ and his cross can pass over the carpets.
The Centurions march beside the float, and trumpets are sounded at the
Station of the Cross.
Here the procession stops, and a priest reads a religious message into
Station of the Cross - Travel Notes
The main procession takes nearly eight hours to wind its way around
the cobble-stone streets.
||At three o'clock, the theme changes.
Alfombras have been made; the litter bearers are cloaked in black and the blood-covered
body of the crucified Christ is carried out of the Cathedral.
Other mourning processions set off from other churches,
and continue well into the night; still watched by people in the street and from the
balconies of houses, as darkness falls.
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See also: Holy Week in The
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