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Semana Santa - Holy Week in Guatemala

In Guatemala April marks the celebration of Semana Santa (Holy Week) which lasts a whole week. Known officially as “La Semana Mayor” (The Greater, most important week), the celebrations of this holiday are as diverse as Guatemala itself.

For some, it is a solemn season commemorating Holy Week - the passion, crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus. Processions march down cobblestoned streets, murals made of sawdust carpet the sidewalks, and devotion to Jesus is expressed through funeral marches.

For others, it marks the beginning of warmer months to come, a break from the past of winter, and a welcome time to share with family or friends by taking the first trip of the year to the beach or volcanic sands. Most of all, it's a week to take a break, a pause, leaving schedules and deadlines behind.

Regardless of how you celebrate Semana Santa, it is a watershed for everyone. A calendar reference that reminds us the year is passing along and we should embrace the time we have in the blossoming of warmer weather.

Semana Santa is also color in many forms - from the purple of the cucuruchos (devout chargers), the sawdust carpet murals that line every street, the intense blue of the sky opening up, the black of the hot sand heating up under out feet, the thousand shades of green blossoming on the mountains.

And Semana Santa is sharing with everyone - living together, having convivios, doing everything in the plural... with family, with friends, with neighbors, with the community. We celebrate collectively and reconnect with our identity and our roots, our Guatemala.

Of course we can't forget that Semana Santa is filled with flavor, too. From the tropical fruit ripening up in the delicious heat, to the traditional Bacalao a la Vizcaína, a cod-based dish with a sauce of tomatoes, bell peppers, olives and capers, to the Molletes, sweet bread stuffed with a sugary filling, fried and drowned in a panela syrup, and of course lots of Curtido, a festival of colorful veggies in competition with the deep purple of the beets and marinated in a vinegar that unites and preserves it all.

We love the smells, colors, textures and feelings build nostalgic memories of home, of Guate this time of year. To all our socios and vecinos, wherever you are, we hope you had a Feliz Semana Santa !

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