Our arrival in Antigua, Guatemala has been punctuated by fascinating, religious celebrations corresponding with the 40 days of Lent in the Catholic religion.

Veladora Pano

On the second Friday of Lent, we joined thousand of people making the pilgrimage to a hilltop church outside of historic, colonial Antigua, Guatemala. The church was packed with wall-to-wall parishioners who came to honour the ‘Venerada Imagen de Jesús Nazareno, Aldea Santa Inés del Montepulciano.’  We were calmly sucked into continuous rotation of Guatemalans trying to reach the pulpit. The altar has been replaced by an exquisitely adorned handmade ‘carpet’ of coloured sawdust, flowers, fruits and vegetable, a cultural staple of Easter in Guatemala. Above the carpet, a nativity scene is set depicting a story from the bible. They come to pray, to ask for forgiveness and to give thanks. And they come to take pictures of the stunning display this year. (Changes every year)

We found ourselves easily funnelled back out to the celebratory atmosphere of the night. Live music, food vendors and revellers gave out spirited joy and sugary sweet aromas. Veladora Combo

As I understand, each church will honour their sacred image of Jesus with a ‘Velación’, such as the one we witnessed. Then on the following Sunday, the procession will see the penitent followers carry the corresponding Andas (the procession floats) on a long journey, 11 hours on the shoulders of the people, to Antigua and back to the church.

Sawdust carpets are iconic Guatemalan tradition. Velación de la Venerada Imagen de Jesús Nazareno, Aldea Santa Inés del Montepulciano. Guatemala -- Karina Noriega

Sawdust carpets are iconic Guatemalan tradition. Velación de la Venerada Imagen de Jesús Nazareno, Aldea Santa Inés del Montepulciano. Guatemala — Karina Noriega

Travel Tips:

  • All velaciones and processions are completely free of charge to witness, photograph, enjoy! Keep in mind though, that as Easter approaches in the Antigua, Guatemala area, the prices of all amenities including hotels, restaurants and food skyrocket.

    • Hotels easily charge 400% more than their average rate and rooms book a year in advance.

~ A Wise Tale By Karina ~

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