Semana Santa is around the corner. Most schools are now on vacation, others will finish clases tomorrow. But what is this all about, and what is the fuzz on Semana Santa in Guatemala. I tell you how I see it.
First Semana Santa is a long holiday, the longest official holiday of the year, at least a week for schools and colleges. From four to five for most of the rest of the people including the weekend (Wednesday for some, half Wednesday for others, Thursdays for most, Friday for almost all).
And what can you do on Semana Santa, most people go to the beach, as it is the peak of the hot season (let’s call it summer), Antigua, Panajachel and Monte Rico are usually also packed. I have been in all the three places and by far the most unique is Antigua and it’s processions. I believe the bigger processions are in Guatemala City, but the ones in Antigua have an unique mystique. You have to love being around people and be catholic or open minded to enjoy them, because Antigua is full of people, and the processions are images of Christ during his last week on earth. This year I have heard that the road to Antigua is very complicated, as they are fixing it, so plan to be there early, leave late, and go to restroom before leaving, each way. If you have a place to stay and eat, great. The best day is Friday, when the most important processions go out. The carpets, made of sawdust are really amazing, and cover the floor for most of the way, so be sure to go and see them and not just wait for the procession to come by. The processions in Guatemala City are also impressive, maybe a little bigger than the ones in Antigua, and a nice activity for the week.
As for the rest of places, going to the beach can be a real pain, as thousands of people are gathered in a not so great environment, but again if you love crowds, this could be the biggest one of the year.
As for me, I have borrowed a 18′ by 36″ pool this year, and plan to spend most of my week there. I hope I “can find the time” to go at least to a couple of processions in Guatemala City this year.
Have a great Holy Week.