April 8, 2012

Semana Santa

Christ has risen, and the Masters are on TV. Collin is happy. It has been a great day. It has been a great week.

In a country where 65-70% of the population is Catholic, "Semana Santa," or "Holy Week," is celebrated by many of the people. In Guatemala, the government even recognizes Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter as national holidays. It's a week full of rich traditions, celebrations, and thankfully, no school. Collin's parents, Dan and Karen, also made a trip down to see us, which made our break even more wonderful!

So here is our Semana Santa in pictures...

1. We hiked to the Laguna Chicobal. Oh, you're not able to see the lake in the picture? We couldn't either. Next time we will make the hour hike a little earlier to beat the afternoon clouds.

2. We want to Guatemala City to pick up Dan and Karen, and then right away left for Panajachel. The mornings were pretty foggy.

3. We went ziplining through the forest at the Nature Preserve in Panajachel.

4. We went to the "Mariposario," or the "Butterfly Farm" at the Nature Preserve.

 5. We biked to Santa Catarina Palapo, a little town near Panajachel. We ate breakfast and walked around.

6. We watched people create "alfombras," or carpets in the street, a Semana Santa tradition. They make these carpets out of sawdust that has been dyed. They use stencils to make the designs. They are so colorful and so beautiful! Later, a Good Friday procession will pass through the alfombras.


7. We watched Catholic processions on Good Friday. They are basically parades of different statues honoring Jesus and Mary, and showing symbolism of the 13 stages of the cross. There is a small marching band that follows the procession, playing very somber music.

8. We climbed "La Muela," the small mountain that looks like a molar tooth. It is the second time we climbed it, but the first time with our parents. They were such champs.

9. We went to Las Fuentes Georginas, the local hot springs. Again, it was our second time being there, but the first time we had been there on the busiest day of the year. The first time there were about 20 people there total, but this time there were more than 200 people around the pools. I guess that is what happens when all of Guatemala is on vacation. Dan and Collin even were brave and went in the 120 degree pool...


10. We don't have pictures, but we also played a lot of card games at night. Anybody who knows the Broekhuis' knows that you can't go a night without playing at least one game of "Up and Down the River."

We really enjoyed our Semana Santa break! Praise God for a wonderful week off from school and for time with our parents!

Grace and Peace,