The jacarandas, bugambilias and the intense heat mark one of the most important tourist seasons in the country known as the eternal spring. Holy Week in Antigua Guatemala is a fairly prominent Catholic event.
This season the cobblestone streets of the colonial city are dressed in intense color and the surrounding area smells of roe deer. It is also the time of typical sweets, hailstones and religious fervor.
A unique and unforgettable experience that you can only live in Guatemala. It is in Antigua where the atmosphere is different and the celebration of Lent is striking.
Why is Holy Week special in Antigua?
The traditions, the colorful carpets, the processions, Lent and the traditional sweets make this activity important in the country of eternal spring.
Without a doubt the processions and the long and colorful carpets are the main focus of attention for tourists. Besides all this is a reason of pride for the antigueños, during this date they live an atmosphere of fervor and religiosity.
The atmosphere and the hustle and bustle of the celebration captivates and surprises both national and foreign tourists. It is these displays of religiosity that make ancient Guatemala an attractive destination during Lent and Holy Week.
On a worldwide level, Antigua is attractive because of its peculiar celebration of Easter Week, which is considered the most beautiful in the world. This religious event attracts thousands of tourists, due to the magnitude of the event thousands of tourists visit this destination. If you plan to enjoy this event you can book your room here.
What to See and Do during Easter Week in Antigua
During the celebration of the major week the tourists can observe real works of art in the streets of the colonial city. Among the most outstanding activities about what to see and do during Holy Week in Antigua Guatemala are:
These activities can be observed in the temples and churches where the images are found. In honor of the images and the saints that will go in procession during the holy week this activity is carried out.
At the entrance to the churches of Antigua Guatemala you will be able to observe the criers or members of the brotherhoods sitting down to announce the vigil. To announce they use drums and shawms. During these activities hundreds of people come, if you plan to attend this celebration and live the passion, death and resurrection you should do so well in advance.
It is one of the most outstanding traditions during the Holy Week in Guatemala, it is carried out all over the country. But… The Easter rugs in Antigua Guatemala are works of art.
Since the time of the conquest the Spanish introduced several traditions, these at the same time were mixed with those of the Indians. In this way one of the most outstanding traditions of Guatemala was born and attracts hundreds of tourists. Nowadays, carpets are a custom typical of the country of eternal spring.
They are colorful and stand out for their length. In most cases they are made of dyed sawdust, also used pine, natural flowers, fruits and vegetables. The fruits and vegetables are placed as an offering to Jesus at the moment of passing through the carpet.
During the first years, carpets were made only when Corpus Christi was celebrated. Over the years, this tradition was carried out during Holy Week, making this custom known worldwide.
Almost 500 years after the conquest and the introduction of Spanish customs that over time became mixed with local customs. Holy Week is one of which the people of Guatemala are proud.
The Holy Week processions in Guatemala have become the perfect time for tourists who want to know first hand the customs and traditions of the country.
The Procession of Jesus of Nazareth is one of the most eagerly awaited by national and foreign tourists visiting the colonial city. It is characterized by the large crowds, the incense, the colorful carpets, the clothes of those who carry the litter and the activities they perform during the journey.
With music, bombs, rockets and colorful fireworks, they announce the passing of the processions through the streets.
What to do during Holy Week in Antigua Guatemala
In general, tourists can do the following activities in the city:
- Taste typical dishes of the season.
- Attend the wake
- Internal tours to visit the tabernacles. (Holy Week is one of the best times to visit the churches).
- Tours to visit the carpets. The tourist can enjoy this beautiful art before the processions pass by.
- Walking to the hill of the cross or the cone.
- Make tours on bicycles.
How is Holy Week celebrated in Antigua Guatemala
For the celebration of the major week, different activities are carried out that involve all the residents. The celebration takes place over several days where various activities are presented.
The distribution of bouquets to those attending is one of the activities carried out on this day, and it is also the day on which Holy Week begins. Generally the processions of the palms leave from churches full of history like:
- La Merced Church.
- Santa Ana Church.
- Church of San Felipe de Jesús.
On Palm Sunday you can participate in the processions. One of the most emblematic and historical of the colonial city is that of Jesus Nazareno de la Reseña in the temple of La Merced.
This processional procession is characterized by the fact that the faithful traditionally decorate it. That is to say, the platforms do not carry any adornment since along the route through the cobbled streets of the colonial city the faithful place flowers on it.
Thousands of parishioners go to the streets of the colonial city to watch the different processions. From early in the morning, tourists can observe the following tours:
- From 4 o’clock in the morning, the first procession of Jesus of Nazareth from the Penitentiary of the Temple of La Merced is observed.
- From the San José Cathedral Church at 3 in the afternoon the procession of the Holy Burial leaves. This procession takes place after the prayer of the creed and the descent of the Lord.
- The procession makes its entrance to the Cathedral of Santiago de los Caballeros at 7 in the evening. In the old altar the burial of the lord takes place.
- Other processions that can be observed on Good Friday are those of the Holy Burial of the School of Christ.
- The one of the Buried Lord of San Felipe de Jesus also goes out on a platform.
Traditionally this day is one of silence as it is dedicated to giving condolences to the Blessed Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus Christ. During this day in the streets and avenues of the colonial city there are no carpets.
The processional processions that the traveler or tourist can observe are:
- The procession of the Dolorosa of the School of Christ leaves at 4 in the afternoon. In this route the Santísima Virgen de la Soledad is taken out on a platform, this procession is only carried by women who dress in black.
- At 3 p.m. the procession of the Dolorosa de San Felipe de Jesús leaves.
In the different temples and churches of Antigua Guatemala at 8 pm the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ takes place.
- During this day in all the processional processions the smell and aroma of incense will fill every corner of the city.
It is the last day of this great celebration, unlike the other days the processional processions give a feeling of joy. Since the resurrection of Jesus Christ is being celebrated, the atmosphere is one of festivity and the music and merriment can be seen in each procession.
During this day you can enjoy the following:
- From 8 am one of the first processions leaves from the town of Jocotenango.
- From the Cathedral you can observe the departure of the procession at 9:45 in the morning.
- From the Church of San Pedro the processional procession leaves at 13:00.
- With this last procession the tourist will be able to end the week in Antigua Guatemala. You will feel the joy and happiness of having been in the celebration of the most beautiful week in the world.
Accommodation for Holy Week in Antigua Guatemala
Accommodation in Antigua Guatemala during Easter Week can be a problem for travellers. The demand for rooms is increasing, you can book your accommodation at the hotel la Galeria from here.
Staying at our hotel will allow you to enjoy all the activities that take place as it is located just a few meters from the central plaza. In addition, the churches and cloisters are just a few blocks from the facilities.