Every year I am sure that I have written about Holy Week – Semana Santa. And yet every year it has not changed. There is this darkness, this oppression, this heaviness that comes with this time of year. I spent the weekend before Holy Week traveling and was in Antigua on Palm Sunday. This is the day that Jesus came into Jerusalem. It ushers in the Easter celebration. For Christians around the world, Easter represents hope. And yet even as I traveled, even as Holy Week came and went here, there was a heaviness that evaded us. It is a mixture of many cultures, many traditions here and many gods. As one of my friends who endured much festivity for days directly in front of her house of darkness put it…. it is more like unholy week here than holy week. As the time for Easter approached, I decided that I wanted to try and gain an understanding of what was on the minds of those around me. And so the question I asked to many of the Guatemalans that I interact with on a daily basis was…. Which day of the most important day of Holy Week? Or which day should we celebrate the most? Most of them said Friday is the most important day. Some of them said no day. But none of them said Sunday. And when I explained to them the significance of the resurrection, I still am not sure that they understood why Christians celebrate the resurrection.
And even as Easter came to pass here, it was so weird. It was as if they missed the celebration. During the week there was definitely an air of happening in town. As Friday approached the stores shut down, there were less people in town and the celebration was happening. But Saturday came and they cleaned up the streets and resumed normal life. As we celebrated Easter on Sunday, I went into town and had an eerie feeling. I was celebrating a day that didn’t exist to those in town. The shops were open again and life had resumed.
As I write this, Easter has passed, but let us not forget that we have reason to celebrate Easter – the Resurrection – each day. I am thankful for the community of believers that are here. That we can still celebrate together and that we live in a country with the freedom to celebrate when and how we want. Christ is risen. He has risen indeed. Les we not forget that we are all on this journey – and each day counts!
Traveling with friends over Holy Week.
Antigua is known for their carpets that they lay throughout the streets as they have processions daily. A lot of work for a short period of time…. but definitely something to appreciate. There are pagan roots and the Easter Story isn’t quite reflected correctly, but I have an appreciation for the art.
Our sunrise service – the highlight of Easter for me each year since I was little… imagining I was Mary walking to that tomb…. and realizing that He was the Messiah and has Risen! What excitement!
Traditions. 22 kids. All in one place. And only a few tears.