Origin Story: Elise Goes to Guatemala

Another group of people that effected my deeply during my time in Antigua were the native Guatemalans. Luis Pedro, who you might recognize from Temple’s bags of Guatemala “Luis Pedro” Hunapu, was extremely hospitable. From the first day he remembered my name and wanted to ensure I had the best experience working in his café. After cupping at his farm, he invited us to come to the outskirts of the city to see his son participate in a local festival.

La Semana Santa, or Holy Week, is a Catholic tradition in Guatemala taken originally from Spain that occurs the weekends between Lent and Easter. This solemn celebration involves boys dressed in purple cloaks carrying a float depicting the life and death of Jesus. Following them was a smaller float carried by girls dressed in black and white lace depicting the Virgin Mary. To accompany them were flag bearers, incense burners, and two marching bands. The procession always ended in the local church, and usually lasted a couple of hours. Every week, until the climax on Easter, the floats would change getting bigger and more intricate as the processions attracted larger local and foreign attention.

At first, I was quite shocked to come upon such a deep-rooted tradition in this small town; especially one I was so unfamiliar with. Antigua in particular is known worldwide for these processions and being able to experience them with a local in his hometown is such a special and unique memory to me.