Easter in Antigua Guatemala

5 – 9 April, 2023

Easter in Antigua Guatemala is a colorful display of traditional culture and folklore. The festive streets are filled with movement. It is an incredible insight into the spiritual life of Guatemala. Easter Week in Antigua Guatemala is the biggest and most beautiful festival in Latin America! This week is greatly anticipated by the locals, as well as visitors. During these days, huge processions wind their way through the streets of the city. Visiting Antigua during Holy Week gives you an extraordinary and unforgettable cultural experience.

Amazing Processions

Fascinating Carpets

Making carpets

Authentic traditions

Highlights

The religious activities give Holy Week a unique touch. Travelers from around the world have the opportunity to appreciate the religious faith of the solemn processions with their beautiful carpets and images. The mixture of art and tradition interlace with the aroma of incense, myrrh, sawdust, and the colorful fruits and vegetables that bring to life the unequaled rugs that are made for the processions to walk on.

festival information

The images are carried on the shoulders of the rhythm of funeral marches of known Guatemalan composers. This tradition is carried out in many parts of the country like in Western Guatemala, where the processions are combined with live presentations of the crucifixion of Christ. Each location contributes its special vision to this religious rite that has been maintained from generation to generation in the country. 

World’s Most Beautiful Holy Week Celebration: Antigua Guatemala, A UNESCO World Heritage Site. Holy Week in Antigua offers a spectacle worth a visit whether or not you celebrate Easter.

Forbes Magazine

Images

The Guatemalan imagery is vast and sublime. Its many expressions are exhibited during Easter Week, carried on the shoulders of loyal men and women as a reminder of their legacy. It is normal to get lost in the sweet expressions of the image of La Merced church or to share the pain of its brow, split by the tribulations of the just as Miguel Angel Asturias wrote in a poem.

Traditional clothing

The apparel of the participants in the processions is without a doubt part of the attraction of Easter Week. The apparel varies depending on whether the community is indigenous or ladina, the chapel they belong to, and their standing in their congregation.

The Altars

During Lent and Holy Week, in all of the churches in the country, Temporary Exhibits are illustrating the feeling and thinking of the different cultures united by the Christian faith. Some of these beautiful altars represent passages from the Bible and are for didactic use. Made with beautiful flowers, and tropical fruit arrangements, the altars are decorated with vivid imaginations, colors, and sounds that enhance the magnificent images with impressive results. 

Fascinating Carpets

The beautiful Carpets seen during Holy Week are made from flowers, sand, and dyed sawdust representing a Catholic tradition that has become a popular art from throughout Latin America, especially in Easter in Antigua Guatemala. 

This art form is probably from the XIV Century and evolved from another art form of planting foliage, rosemary, yellow and blue flowers, and carnation and rose petals on the route of the amazing processions. The most elaborate and splendid carpets are in Easter in Antigua Guatemala. They are made from colored sawdust and are decorated with baroque Christian symbols.

Gastronomy

Guatemalan gastronomy is very vast during Holy Week. Meals are prepared mainly with chicken and shellfish. Sweet dishes are typical of this season that begins on Ash Wednesday.

Music

During Lent and Holy Week the environment is filled with hymns, praises, and meditation, suitable for this time. Musical interpretations of a special genre of different ethnic groups in the country express the sentiments of the people and their religious values. The choral and instrumental music is essential during the lavish processions.

However, local artists perform special concerts. In the villages, hymns and praises are sung when the processions pass by determining important places. There is always a unique musical band accompanying the processions playing marches. Its repertoire includes funeral marches by great local teachers from the romanticism period as well as classics from Beethoven and Chopin.  

Itinerary

Day 1. Holy Wednesday

Today we will pick you up from Guatemala City Airport and bring you to Antigua, Guatemala to see the first procession of the festival. After dinner, we will be able to observe one of the most interesting parts of the festival, when the locals make the carpets. 

Entire families in the neighborhoods work together making carpets. Most people work the whole night to be able to have the carpets ready for the next day. It will be very interesting for you to witness how people work with so much dedication and commitment.

Day 2. Maundy Thursday

We will start the day with the best coffee in the world. Step into the shoes of a Guatemalan coffee farmer. On this tour, you will hike through coffee fields, harvest beans, and learn to process and roast the coffee with traditional tools. End the experience by making your fresh cup of coffee.

This morning will be a great opportunity to observe a big amount of carpets since the night before a lot of people did not sleep to finish them on time. In the afternoon our guide will show you the cathedral, the most beautiful churches, and ruins. After this tour, we will go to the Hill of the Cross for a short hike.

From this place, you will have a beautiful view of the four volcanoes and the city of Antigua. During the rest of the day, we will be able to observe how the processions will go through the carpeted streets of Antigua. 

Day 3. Good Friday

Good Friday is the most important day of Holy Week. Today you will be able to see the best carpets and the most impressive processions. At 6:00 PM people will go to central park to wait for the biggest procession of the week, there will be a special ceremony in front of the cathedral. This is the biggest celebration of the festival and something that you should not miss.

Day 4. Holy Saturday

One of the highlights of this trip is the Volcano Pacaya. Early in the morning, we will depart for this hike, where you will have the chance to see running lava. We will depart at 6:00 AM and come back by noon. In the afternoon you will have various opportunities to see processions of Holy Saturday.

In the evening, we will have a Salsa workshop. A visit to Guatemala wouldn’t be complete without a crash course in the art of salsa dance! This workshop will be tailored to your level of ability. You will dance away with some useful skills to take out on the town when you get back home.

Day 5. Easter Sunday

Today we will see the happiest procession of Holy Week. It is full of flowers, fruits, colors, and happiness. We will take you by shuttle to the airport of Guatemala City for your flight back home. If you would like to spend more time in the country, let us know and we would be more than happy to assist you.

map, expenses & price

Holy Week in Antigua Guatemala

Expenses included:
-All private transportation.
-Four nights of hotel accommodations.
-Professional local guides.
-Tours and activities as listed.
-Entrance fees.
-Two traditional lunches.
-Daily breakfast.

Per person starting at $550

Ready to book?

The Holy Week is simply incredible in Guatemala, and especially in Antigua. Considered the world’s premier Holy Week Festival, local festivities are amalgamated with colorful and moving ceremonies.

Extensions
Natural Sauna

The sauna is situated in a coffee farm, amidst cypress trees. Before the sauna, we can take a half an hour hike in the forest and periodically pick up all the rubbish we find in the forest to contribute to the conservation of the area. You will take a classical outside wood-burning sauna, with hydrant drinks followed by a light vegan snack, all freshly prepared with a dazzling sight of the volcanoes. Duration: 3 hours. Price $40

Chocolate Workshop

Chocolate has a long history in Guatemala. Its use and importance date back to Ancient Mayan civilization. In this workshop, you will learn about the rich history of chocolate and the process of taking beans to the finished product. Finally, you will make your own handmade, customized chocolates to take with you. Duration: 1 and a half hours. Price per guest from $15

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