Easter and the Holy Week (Semana Santa) is one of the biggest holidays in Guatemala with people taking time off to celebrate it in different ways. Many love to go to the country's beautiful beaches, whilst others gather around their families and celebrate with feasts. However, another activity people love to do is watch the processions and there is no better place to watch it than in the colourful Guatemalan city of Antigua!
To visit Antigua at this time of the year, you usually have to book months in advance. Accommodation gets reserved very quickly. The whole town is at a stand-still to watch the processions which mainly happen on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Christ was crucified on the Friday and this is represented with late-night processions. These processions have very atmospheric and sombre music. Christ was resurrected on the Sunday and the processions are a lot more cheerful.
One of the most amazing parts of the celebrations in Antigua, are the colourful carpets 'alfombras' that are lined all around the town. These are made from dyed saw dust. The alfombras display different scenes important to the artists, often religious, but also covering Mayan traditions, mother nature, and Guatemalan history. Preparations for this starts many days / weeks before and is painstakingly long to do. The only downside is you don't get long to enjoy the designs. The processions always destroy them!
Whether you are religious or not, visiting Antigua during Semana Santa is definitely an experience. During Easter in Guatemala, it is hard not to get caught up in the celebrations!
In 2021, due to the Covid-19 pandemic unfortunately all Semana Santa celebrations have been cancelled in Guatemala. We hope festivities can resume next year.
Celebrate Easter in Guatemala!
Discover our tailor-made cultural tours in Guatemala: