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  • Writer's pictureUpavim Community Development Foundation

Happy Semana Santa From Guatemala

Updated: Apr 15, 2022

This week, UPAVIM members celebrate one of the most important holidays in Guatemala, Semana Santa (Holy Week). Because of Covid, it's been two years since the holiday has been celebrated publicly and the country is excited for its return! Semana Santa, or Holy week, is a week-long celebration culminating in Easter or "Pascua". However, unlike in the US, there are no chocolate bunnies or marshmallow ducks as part of this holiday...

Instead, the food of the week is a special egg yolk sweet bread. Traditionally, families will order their breads ahead of time and they take great pride in gifting friends and neighbors their bread during the week. This bread is enjoyed with hot chocolate on Maundy Thursday- although many bread connoisseurs are known to eat bread several times a day this week for breakfast, with coffee, for snack, before bed... really anytime is a good time to eat bread this week! Aside from bread, many families make a sweet dish of garbanzos or squash in a homemade syrup. Different families have their own food traditions, depending on the region they're from. Cooking dried salted fish is also a very traditional food for many families on Good Friday.

Aside from food, the processions and "alfombras" (rugs) are the main attraction of the week. Different churches and religious orders create ornate floats featuring life-sized scenes from the the Bible leading up to the crucifixion. These floats are carried through the streets by up to 80 people each, accompanied by somber "Sacra" music. Crowds line up to watch the processions in various points in the city. Hours earlier, people along the procession way create intricate alfombras (rugs) in the streets using colored saw-dust, flowers, and fruits. Many of these alfombras are extraordinary temporal works of art- created for a few hours only to be wiped away with the passing of the procession over it.

And for those looking to leave the cities and take advantage of vacation time during the hottest time of the year in Guatemala, the beach is a favorite activity. Crowds flock to the beaches and pools during this week.


After a refreshing break for Semana Santa, UPAVIM Crafts artisans are ready to get back to work!

Place your order today to receive gifts in time for Mother's Day!

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