Friday, May 12, 2006
Easter week, or Holy Week (Semana Santa), is huge here in Antigua. The town is covered in tourists in for the "alfombras" or carpets that are laid on the streets every Friday and Sunday the month of April and every day of Holy Week. These alfombras are made of colored sawdust and complemented with fruits, vegetables, flowers and branches of pine. We got out of bed at 5:30 AM one Sunday morning to watch some being made. Several we saw had been started in the wee hours of the morning (earlier than our "wee hour" of 5:30), as early as midnight. Parades of men dressed in purple robes and hoods, carrying a "float" of Christ in various poses, walk over these carpets, destroying them sometimes minutes after they are completed. It was interesting to watch the carpets being made but we bypassed most of the parades. We were caught in the Central Park during one parade and the crush of people and strong odor of incense was overwhelming. After the parade walks over the carpet, a truck follows and sweeps up the debris within minutes. Because most of the streets are closed, the whole week is spent walking.
One sad thing I noticed was that there was no mention of the Resurrection. All the floats either had Christ on the cross or carrying it. They cut the story short! The "receipt" showing our sins were paid by Christ's sacrifice was His resurrection and appearance after. As Paul Harvey would say, "and that's the rest of the story!".