Friday, March 29: Antigua, Guatemala

Day: 
7

On Good Friday the streets of Antigua are covered with natural, aromatic carpets (alfombras) of flowers, pines, clover and fruits, which the residents put together and place in front of their homes. There are all kinds and shapes. Some are very long with colonial, Mayan, Roman or other originaldesigns. At 3:00 A.M., preparations begin for the mock trial and sentencing of Christ. Participants dress as Roman soldiers, Pontius Pilate and other participants in the drama. At 7:00 A.M., the sculpture of Christ carrying his crucifix is moved on the shoulders of his worshipers through the carpeted main streets of Antigua  until the early afternoon, when the image is replaced by another of Christ being laid to rest.

At 4:30 P.M., Antigua becomes adorned with black crepe paper as thousands of people, burning incense and dressed in black, crowd the plazas and streets. A spectacular procession is led by the man bearing the crucifix, with hundreds of followers carrying black banners and standards engraved with the final words of Christ and the pronouncements of God. Life-like images representing the archangels, the Stations of the Cross, the Cavalry, the apostles and many others are part of the silent procession through the streets, where multitudes pray quietly. The image of Christ is laid to rest in a church at 11:00 P.M.

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