Living Outside The Country Doesn’t Mean Escape

Sometimes people think that when you make the decision to move out of the United States you are escaping and looking for some happy place that probably doesn’t exist.  In some ways there is truth to this escapist fantasy held by many ex-patriots.  Some days it doesn’t matter where you are, if you look at a computer there is no escaping the very worst things The United States of America has to offer. Today is one of those days.

Not Always Heros

Which brings to mind this Bill Hicks sketch.

Brightly Colored Carpets of Sawdust and Flowers for Easter in Guatemala Part 3 of 3

The Easter procession from the Catholic church in San Pedro La Laguna, Guatemala.  Start with the first photo essay. Click on any photo to enlarge and begin slide show.

Hot-Coals-for-incense

The hot coals are readied for the copal incense used on the parade route.

Alter-Boys-in-church

Alter boys getting ready before the Easter procession.

Ancient drum in Mayan Easter

This drum was used all along the Easter procession.

Mother Mary is carried out of the church.

Mother Mary is carried out of the church.

Mary carried by young ladies of San Pedro La Laguna at Lake Atitlan.

Mary carried by young ladies of San Pedro La Laguna at Lake Atitlan.

 

Girls-wait-for-Mary

The young women gather waiting for their processional float.

Catholic nun observes the young ladies as they head towards the street with the Virgin Mary.

Catholic nun observes the young ladies as they head towards the street with the Virgin Mary.

 

Old-help-new-generation

A man dressed in traditional Tz'utujil clothing helps the newest generation with the copal incense.

Young ladies of San Pedro carry the Virgin Mary.

Tzutujil men of San Pedro carry Jesus

The young men carrying Jesus with the San Pedro Volcano in the background. The groups carrying these floats hand them off to other groups along the processional route.

Drum Leads the Easter parade.

The drum leads the first float with the Cross on it over the alfombra.

Young-ladies-in-fron-of-salon

A group of young ladies waiting for their turn to carry the Virgin Mary.

Ladies-with-Girl-behind-Mary

The older ladies in traditional shawls pass on the traditions to a younger generation.

Boy-carries-Jesus

Young boy helping with the Jesus float.

Jesus-under-Nariz

Jesus under La Nariz in San Pedro as the Easter parade goes by.

Jesus-followed-by-Mary

The angels lead Jesus followed by Mary on the route.

Jesus heads on down the street.

Jesus heads on down the street.

Mary follows Jesus on Easter

Mary under La Nariz in San Pedro, Guatemala.

Easter Bonnet

A pretty Easter bonnet.

More senior Tz'utujil ladies of the church following Mary.

More senior Tz'utujil ladies of the church following Mary.

A band singing gospel songs.

A band singing gospel songs.

 
The cross heads down the street of San Pedro La Laguna

The cross heads down the street of San Pedro La Laguna.

The Church band passes by

The Church band passes.

Children racing to gather the sawdust after the procession passes.

Children racing to gather the sawdust after the procession passes.

A Tz'utujil elder in a crowd on Easter

A Tz'utujil elder in a crowd on Easter.

The End

The End.

Brightly Colored Carpets of Sawdust and Flowers for Easter in Guatemala Part 2 of 3

Start with Part 1
After a long night of assembling these huge works of art they are finally complete as the sun starts to rise higher in the sky on Easter morning here at Lake Atitlan.   The themes of these alfombras include religious ones and ones celebrating the natural world around us.  The people of San Pedro are truly masters at designing distinct and varied alfombras celebrating this very important holiday.  In Guatemala, Mexico and all over the Latin world this week is referred to as Semana Santa.   Semana Santa literally translated is Saints Week, for the people here Easter isn’t just one day long it is the whole week from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday.  This is the week many people make the trip home from the city or wherever their lives have taken them.

Alfombra of Veggies

Scallions, Eggplants, Peppers and Flowers make the pattern in this alfombra.

Alter Maya

This alter is very similar to ones shamans construct for ceremonies. The construction represents the heavens and the fruit can be seen as an offering for a bountiful harvest.

Pine and Palms
Natural World

This alfombra is decorated with regional animals prominent in Mayan culture: ants, turtles, jaguars, turkeys and others.

Ladies-Pine-and-Flowers

The ladies almost have this alfombra finished, I think it had more flowers than any of the others that day.

Flower Boat

A flower boat on a sea of pine needles.

Flower Boat and Carrot

Many of the alfombras have flower arrangements that would be the envy of any florist.

Myan Noze in the back ground

The La Nariz, or Mayan Nose, is the mountain in the background of this photo.

A Nun in Guatemala

A Catholic nun walks alongside the alfombra at Lake Atitlan.

One of several archways adorned with hanging fruit on the Easter procession route.

A boquet of Calla Lilies

A bouquet of Calla Lilies adorns this beautiful alfombra.

Bark-and-Veggies

This one had bark as a base and an assortment of vegggies.

Nariz-and-Tzutujil-man

A Tz'utujil man wearing traditional dress pants walks alongside this alfombra.

More Cala Lilies

More Calla Lilies adorn this alfombra.

Walkway leading out of the Catholic church.

Walkway leading out of the Catholic church on Easter in San Pedro.

The Sun Comes up on Easter

The sun is starting to rise, time for the Easter procession at San Pedro La Lagna is close.

View of San Pedro from inside the Catholic church.

View out of the front of the church on Easter morning as parishoners and alter boys gather before the procession begins

I was truly grateful for how accepted I was and how well the people tolerated me and my camera.  My next post will be the Easter procession starting from inside the church and following it as it winds around town.  This post and the previous one are only warm ups for the beauty of the Easter procession at San Pedro La Laguna on the shore of magical Lake Atitlan.