3 Amazing Ways To Celebrate Easter Week in Latin America
PHOTO: Processional carpet for Good Friday in Antiqua, Guatemala (Photo courtesy of Thinkstock)
Lent and Carnival are just precursors to the final celebration – Easter Week, otherwise known as Holy Week or Semana Santa, in many Latin American countries. The special week is honored with processions, masses and other observances in honor of Christian traditions. The most common days for events are Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday, but there is an event or celebration every day of the week and in Latin America, they honor these traditions in a passionate way.
From March 21-27, Costa Rica’s visitors and locals alike can enjoy and participate in the many festivities that take place during the week. Visitors can divide their trip between cultural celebrations and exploring the country’s diverse landscape. There are many opportunities for visitors to partake in a traditional event or simply taking advantage of the beautiful weather. Costa Rica offers family-friendly activities that combine excitement and adventure with comfort and security.
Some of the top things to do in Costa Rica during Easter Week include biblical reenactments. The most popular street procession is the Passion of the Christ, a reenactment of the journey of Christ from his crucifixion up until his resurrection. Hundreds of people across the country walk the streets to participate in this biblical reenactment.
“La Lagarteada” is one of the county’s oldest traditions and celebrates the combination of Christian and Aztec culture. The people of the town capture a crocodile on Holy Friday, which is then displayed in the town square and released to the river the following day – similar to the depiction of the crucifixion.
One of the most important ways to experience Semana Santa in Costa Rica is through its food. Cuisine during this time mostly consists of seafood, so get ready for delicious ceviche, fish soup and fried fish. There’s also chiverre, a seasonal squash cooked in butter and sugar, and tamal mudo, a flavorful dough.
Easter is a special time in Guatemala, which is home to one of the largest Easter celebrations in the world. The whole city of Antigua comes together along with thousands of travelers each year during this holy time.
The city’s homage to Jesus and the Passion of Christ is reflected in a series of colorful processions with images, floats, sculptures and gorgeous sawdust and flower "carpets," called alfombras, which are made by Guatemalan artists.
This year, Bella Guatemala Travel is offering an Easter Week tour to streamline the experience for foreign visitors. The itinerary includes the ceremonies at the annual Easter Week Processions, which are a one-of-a-kind reflection of the religious fervor that Spanish explorers brought to Guatemala from Spain more than 500 years ago.
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In addition to the celebrations, the tour includes a visit to the Museum of Archeology and Ethnology, a tour of Antigua’s museums, convents, coffee plantations, Mayan markets, a jade factory, Choco Museum chocolate workshop, a visit to the largest Mayan market in the country in Chichicastenango, a visit to the Maya Weavers Association to learn about thread-dying, Tikal national park and more.
Nicaragua is also known for its Holy Week festival traditions. It is the most religious holiday of the year and a time for fascinating festivals that blend Spanish traditions with indigenous rituals. In Nicaragua, individuals strive to keep alive the memory of Christ’s sacrifice and reenact the historical reality of the Passion of the Christ. The most prominent of the celebrations takes place in two main cities: Leon and Grenada.
A journey with Tours Nicaragua takes visitors into the heart of these celebrations, where art meets religion. Guests are able to take place in Holy Week street painting with one of the most renowned sawdust street painters in the country as well as participate in processions, traveling from Managua to Granada to Leon and Sutiaba for an unforgettable immersion into the culture and history behind this centuries old week of religious celebration.
More by Janeen Christoff
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