Sunday, February 25, 2018

La Procession at Santa Ines, Guatemala, February 25, 2018

It's another sunny and warm beautiful day off!  My first stop was down to the mercado to have breakfast.  Lots of locals were eating here so I thought it must be a good place-

The restaurant is just one big room with the kitchen in the corner-

I had desayunos tipicos which is huevos, frijoles, platanos and chorizo.  It was 25Q which is $4.32.  I was surprised that it was that expensive so they must have charged me gringo price-

Afterwards, I walked to Santa Ines to see the alfombras.  They are 'carpets' made out of dyed sawdust.  There are many bags of different colors and lots of different stencils-

Bowls of colored sawdust-

First they make the background-

and do the border-

Then they work on the middle.  They put a stencil down-

and carefully add the sawdust-

to make beautiful images-

Once the procession starts, they will walk right over top the carpets.  This group started at 4 this morning and will finish just in time at 1 pm-

Near to the church was the booth where a person could pick up their card telling them what time they will carry the andas platform-

Once again there were a lot of food booths near the church.  These are empanadas filled with dulce de leche which is condensed milk heated until it has a caramel flavor.  They are then sprinkled with icing sugar, as if they weren't already sweet enough-

The Saint Ines Church-

also has alfombras in front of it- 

Inside the church were the andas platforms.  The Virgen Mary is with a few dragons that represent the devil-

She is always followed by San Juan (John) and Mary Magdalena-

On the other float, Jesus is carrying his cross.  Everything is made of styrofoam so it's really light.  Men carry Jesus and women carry the Virgen-

The Angel of Death follows Jesus-

Archangel Michael is stomping on the devil-

After leaving the church, I followed the road the procession would take to find a few more carpets.  These were made of dyed wood chips-


and vegetables like carrots, tomatoes, radishes and lettuce-

To prevent the sawdust from blowing away in the wind, it's constantly sprayed with water-

There are little dolls of cucuruchos - alfombras carriers for sale-

Dark purple is worn because it's the color of Lent which is meant to be 40 days of reflection, penance, and a time for spiritual conversion-

There were still a couple of hours until the procession started so I walked home for a rest.  Finally the Stations of the Cross were open.  This is the third-

and the fourth- 

Later on, while walking to Parque Central, the procession was in full swing.  There are two bands that play slow, sad, funeral music.  Each one follows an andas.  They don't get to switch off like the alfombras carriers.  They play from 1 pm until 11 pm, walking down the rough, cobblestone streets-

Mary Magdalena and the Virgen Maria-

The alfombras turned the corner before I was able to fight my way through the crowds to get a decent picture-

I spent an hour or so in Parque Central people watching and trying to avoid being shat on by a pigeon.  Yesterday they got me twice!  I met Lynn and we went for supper with a few other English speaking women.  It was a good day!

Marta Julia is 70 years old and has been hosting students and volunteers at Common Hope for over 25 years.  She is an awesome cook and has a very clean house.  She likes to visit and when she gets rambling on telling a story, it's hard to keep up to her.  I feel very comfortable here with her - she's very kind, friendly and helpful.  She has 4 children who live in Antigua and Guatemala City.  She has other extended family with whom she spends Sunday afternoons-

I only have 2 more days of school and volunteering!  Time has gone by so quickly!

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