Sunday, April 15, 2007

Viernes Santo by Felipe

My brother-in-law Felipe is not only a much better photographer than I am, he also has a far superior professional digital camera. It is therefore his images of the Good Friday processions that I will promote here first.

There are three main processions around La Antigua on Viernes Santo. The first which emerges from La Merced at about 5am is more or less a re-run of the Palm Sunday procession as far as I could tell, except that there is some Roman cavalry and the cucuruchos all carry lances. (So no shopping bags possible this time!)

This procession concludes at 3pm, traditionally the hour of Christ's passing. This is the last one where purple tunics are worn. Those that wish to participate in either of the late-afternoon processions have to effect a quick costume change into the black tunics appropriate for carrying either of the Critstos sepultados which belong to the Escuela de Cristo in Antigua and its rival from San Felipe de Jesús, a colonia just outside the centre.

In days gone by it was not unheard of for these two processions to meet head on, with neither immediately willing to cede priority and back up. In today's Guatemala such an encounter could have very unpleasant consequences, so it's generally a good thing that new routes were devised that make these kind of collisions far less likely. (Just the week before the Desfile Bufo, a more secular street march involving members of the University of San Carlos in Guatemala City, had kicked off with a shoot-out between members of the engineering faculty.)

Felipe's photo-sets include many more images of intact ceremonial alfombras (carpets). There are two reasons for this. Firstly, although it had been our plan to get up early with him on Friday morning (4am) we ended up having one two many tequilas at Cafe Ana with Orly and Victor Hugo and didn't make it home until after three. (This does mean that I have plenty of pics of the carpets in their earlier stages of composition, which I will touch upon in a later post.)

Felipe was also cargando in two of the processions, which permitted him to get some fairly unique shots from beneath the andas. His cucurucho get-up also provided him with an access-all-areas permit to generally move around and in front of the procession in motion. (I saw one guy in mufti who tried to cross the street in front of the La Merced anda being set-upon vigorously by an over-keen legionary with a plastic gladius. )

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