Good Friday

Wow… it just keeps getting crazier and crazier here every day…

I thought the town was overrun when I first got here… but the real flood of people only started arriving yesterday, when pretty much every Guatemalan is given days off of work through Easter. It’s hard to even walk in the middle of the streets in some places.

Yesterday I went to see one procession which actually ended up being a reenactment of some of the scenes leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion. There’s pictures of some of it, including someone (one of the apostles I assume) being dragged off by Roman guards, a woman (forget who she’s supposed to be) who wiped Jesus’ face with a cloth as he carried the cross with the miraculous image of Christ on the cloth, and a couple other guys (apostles again?) who are walking with Jesus, followed by Jesus bearing his (golden) cross on one of the big, wooden processional “floats” carried by a whole bunch of people.

Then today was mass hysteria with all the Good Friday activities. First I attended one of two reenactments of the crucifixion. They both were happening at the same time, so I chose the one at the main cathedral on the central plaza. This crucifixion was of a 500 year old wooden carving of a dying Jesus (wounds and blood and all) made with movable arms and legs for use in the reenactments. Then in the afternoon I found a procession mourning the death of Jesus. There were floats bearing the image of a grieving Mary, and a couple of other people… don’t know who they were, but theres a picture of one dude here nonetheless.. and he looks mighty unhappy.

Tonight was the biggest procession of all, I believe. I just came to the internet place straight from there. I couldn’t get very good pictures ’cause it was dark and the crowds INSANE… but the main float (which was HUGE) had all these angel-like figures holding candelabras… putting off a ridiculous amount of light… and at the top was a glass coffin of sorts holding the same wooden sculpture of the (now dead) Christ that I had seen crucified this morning. All in all it was a very sad event… the marching band playing the saddest music you could ever hope to imagine… and thousands of people standing in silence, frantically making the sign of the cross and kissing their rosary beads… it was very touching… seeing all these people with so much faith…

There are 2 more processions tomorrow and then one on Easter Sunday itself, and I’m sure I’ll check all those out as well. I believe today was the biggest day however.

I’ve also included a few pictures of the elaborate alfombras (carpets) of sawdust, pine needles, flower petals, and fruit that people lay out on the cobblestone streets to mark the paths of the processions. They’re quite pretty.

That’s all for now… time to go eat something.. I\’m famished.

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