Having an aversion to crowds, finding myself in Antigua, Guatemala on the Segundo Domingo de Cuaresma – the Second Sunday of Lent- was not something I had planned on. I did think about running for the hills… literally but then I thought weeeelllllll maybe I will stay and just manage my people exposure.
The town was definitely more crowded than the last time I was here but really it could have been much worse. The Mayan people are so polite and gentle, they made it easier for me to be amongst the ‘masses’. Plus the procession wound its way throughout the whole town for hours so people were able to spread out and those tiny sidewalks can only accommodate a crowd of one deep. The crowd was much more dense watching the mime entertaining!
So the 2nd Sunday of Lent is about transfiguration and a procession, which left Santa Inés (Used to be a convent and is now a high end hotel) at 1pm and didn’t finish until 11pm! They hauled around two large floats and several small ones, none of which were motorized. Nope, these puppies were fuelled by the faithful. Thankfully there are a lot of those folk here so the same people didn’t have to do it straight through.
Starting early Sunday morning groups were creating ‘rugs’on the street made of flowers and plants and coloured sawdust just so the procession could mess it all up in a matter of minutes. Gorgeous!
I finally stumbled home around 1, needing a break from people and the sun. I ventured out around 4 and had no problem finding where everyone was. I looked around thinking there’s got to be a better way to watch this than on the sidewalk and voila! A coffee shop with open doors and pastries! And since I was raised up, I’d be able to see over the heads of the crowd!
First came the carnival – balloons of Mickey Mouse, cotton candy, jewelry, blankets, popcorn. Then came the incense brigade… them you smelled long before you saw them. By the time they were done the air was blue with the smoke and the floats seemed to be on clouds instead of the backs of the oppressed. And behind them the mass of people and then the the clean up crew.
I was exhausted by the time I got done with the day and needed some Vicar of Dibley to ground me but I am so glad I decided to hang around. The whole month leading up to Easter is a huge deal around here and is just rehearsal for the the big event! If you ever want to experience something completely amazing, I urge you to ‘do’ Easter in Antiqua, Guatemala.