Friday, March 30, 2007

Semana Santa

After basking in the glow of our warmed egos, Joe and I were lucky enough to catch the beautiful city of Antigua, Guatemala, in the festivities leading up to its most beloved holiday: Easter, or Holy Week.

Every year, the people of Antigua perform backbreaking, elaborate, mind-blowing ceremonies deeply rooted in tradition. It goes a little something like this: First, people armed with scaffolding, colorfully dyed sawdust, stencils, and flowers decorate the cobblestone streets with vibrant 3D murals. They spend hours hovering over their labors of love, each group contributing their custom design until the streets are filled with color.

While the artists tend to their creations with fine spray bottle mists, commotion brews in the street. Oh, that's right, it's only about 200 men and women lugging around 700-pound reproductions of Jesus and Mary. They take shifts; swinging pails of incense, grunting under their burden, parading all throughout the city from 10am till 10pm. Slowly they trample each sacrificial piece of art, until the street is a ravaged mess of neon sawdust and foliage.

Insane as it seems, I really got caught up in the beauty of this tradition, as each volunteer seemed honored to be suffering under this huge weight. It meant so much more to us than many other commercialized US holidays, to see people putting their hearts and bodies into this symbolic act. That being said, beware your pockets, as Semana Santa is sadly the highest week for little rotten pickpocket hands (so we've heard).

- Rach


Anonymous nu'u said...

is joe eating monkey-brain-on-a-stick again

3/30/07, 10:37 AM  
Blogger James said...

Frinkin Awesome. The picture look like there from some weird 80s sci fi movie - tottally sureal. What a cool experience. I have been reading about whats called liberation theology which arose out of setting like Guatamala. It has to do with a theology of the oppressed. People in those country are some much different and beautiful. What a wonderful experience you guys are having. One thing I would like if you guys would not just tell us what your doing but how its changing your perspectives. What are the things you are feeling. I know that is kind of a lofty request. but I really want to know how these things are making you feel.

3/30/07, 10:42 AM  
Blogger Cliff said...

Jeri Kunkel's (Formerly Jeri Tunno if that helps) husband (me) is really enjoying your blog. Witty commentary, beautiful pictures and great adventure: What more could anyone ask for in a blog? Your blog is easily in his top 100 favorite blogs list!

3/30/07, 10:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn you guys and your guilt trips.
Now I have to go back to Rite-Aide and return my Easter egg coloring kits and all of the Peeps and the chocolate bunnies that I bought!!! Seriously, thanks for sharing your experiences with us (consumers).
P.S. I'm keeping the Cadburys....

3/31/07, 6:58 PM  
Anonymous Worn Right said...

Aw, the joys of being in the right place at the right time coupled with the vision to embrace the occurrance as a natural extension of your own enlightenment. It seems that you are beginning to garner an appreciation for the sacrifices of others.

4/1/07, 8:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a wonderful reminder of our Saviour's death and resurrection. Even though it is "tradition" - it serves to remind us of what Christ did for living color no less!

Happy Easter - He is Risen!

Love - AV and UD

4/2/07, 7:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I leaving a comment here just to avoid your scorn. Please stop hating your readers.

4/2/07, 7:56 AM  
Anonymous joey's maui mama said...

We are in Semana Santa too. I am planning an Easter Party for the little ones and their friends with egg hunts and relay races and symbols of the resurrection. How nice for you to be in a place that honors Christ for this holy week. Wish you were here with us but know you are having a once in a lifetime experience. Love you, MOM

4/2/07, 1:58 PM  
Blogger Jaime said...

Sweet! I lucked out of your badgering! I miss you guys and want you to come to Maui when you are done. I just returned from Honolulu this weekend with Mom, it was wonderful.Went to a great confrence and I still love Jesus! Good times. love to you both.

4/2/07, 2:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BEAUTIFUL pictures...that capture what words cannot express.

happy journeys.


4/2/07, 5:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful presentation - beyond belief - thanks for sharing those pictures and those moments, Grandma Sara

4/3/07, 4:07 PM  
Blogger James said...

New Posting or I boycott

4/4/07, 9:33 AM  
Anonymous Ohio Cox said...

Sunny Semana Santa is much better than Snowing Ohio! See ya soon dude. Front Butt will return!

4/4/07, 6:02 PM  
Blogger Jeremy said...

heyy joe.

4/4/07, 11:35 PM  
Blogger Jeremy said...

Heyy Joe and Rach. How goes it. I haven't read your blog for a few months. I will at some point. Anyways, I'm jealous about Costa Rica and the fact that I am not going and Kevin and Molly are. :) email me some time after a siesta or a festive parade

4/4/07, 11:40 PM  
Blogger Liza's Eyeview said...

Ahh..Semana Santa..

this post brought back a lot of childhood memories...reminded me of how we celebrated the lent season in the Philippines...

loved the colorful photos!

4/8/07, 3:11 AM  

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