Lent in Guatemala, also known as Cuaresma, is a six-week period leading up to Holy Week (Semana Santa) and Easter. It’s a time of deep religious reflection and cultural celebration, particularly in the city of Antigua Guatemala. Here’s a glimpse into the unique traditions observed during this special time:

  • Processions: Every Sunday throughout Lent, elaborate processions wind their way through the streets of Antigua. These processions depict scenes from the Passion of Christ, featuring life-sized statues of Jesus, Mary, and other biblical figures carried on massive floats. The processions are accompanied by solemn music, incense, and large crowds of devotees.
  • Alfombras: One of the most captivating aspects of Lent in Guatemala are the alfombras, or carpets, created from colored sawdust, flowers, fruits, and other natural materials. These intricate and colorful carpets adorn the streets along the procession routes, depicting religious scenes and symbols. They are a true testament to the creativity and devotion of the Guatemalan people.
  • Velaciones: Each Friday evening during Lent, churches throughout Antigua hold special vigils, or velaciones. These vigils feature elaborate displays depicting scenes from the Bible, often accompanied by music and prayer.
  • Cucuruchos: The processions are carried out by members of religious brotherhoods known as cucuruchos. These men wear distinctive purple or black robes with conical hats made of straw or wood. Their participation in the processions is a deeply personal and spiritual experience.

These are just some of the highlights of Lent in Guatemala. If you have the opportunity to experience this special time firsthand, you’ll be sure to be beeindruckt by the beauty, devotion, and cultural richness of this Guatemalan tradition.

Holy Week in Guatemala is celebrated with street expressions of faith, called processions, usually organized by a “hermandad“. Each procession of Holy Week has processional floats and steps, which are often religious images of the Passion of Christ, or Marian images, although there are exceptions, like the allegorical steps of saints.