APR 02,2013 - MAY 02,2013 (31 DAYS)
The after the Jewish Passover, we went outside to the plaza to watch one of the many processions of Semana Santa - the Christian holy week which is celebrated a week before Easter. People all over town came out of the churches, carrying icons, banners and models representing different stages in the life of Jesus Christ. In each procession there were men, women and children dressed festively, and a marching band with some very heavy instruments…
The streets of the city were covered with the traditional colorful carpets of Semana Santa, on which the people of the city worked for hours before the event. We joined all the locals, and watched the processions in the very hot day, with the sun beating down on our heads.
The holy week is a week of rest for many of the local people, who take advantage of the vacation to visit some of Guatemala favorite visiting sites (we discovered later that Ricky Martin came to Guatemala to perform in Semana Santa).
During Semana Santa people hang ointments on their door, and everywhere you can buy sweet bread with special honey that all the grandmas make for the holiday. Semana Santa special honey is made of mango, papaya, pineapple, cinnamon and, believe it or not, humus. Yes, it turns out there are a lot of humus based plates in Guatemala, all of them sweet as hell… and all the chickpeas for the humus are peeled one by one by the grandmas.
In the central plaza of town, by the regular food carts (which includes tacos, churos etc.) popped up dozens of other carts, selling food, souvenirs and lots of sweets. Every evening we tried a different sweet – some were excellent and some were just slightly colored cubes of sugar.
We also found a great ice cream place which offered a selection of 20 flavors and was very cheap. Besides learning Spanish and how to dance the salsa, we took it upon ourselves to try each and every flavor. While writing these lines the count is up to six. And after choosing your flavor, you still have to choose a frosting – chocolate, white chocolate, mango, Chiclets or strawberry – and then one of the toppings, including nuts, ground coconut, Gummy bears etc. Delicious...