Known to be not only be one of Central America’s most exciting places to celebrate the Easter holidays, but also one of the world’s, Guatemala is home to some of the most elaborate celebrations leading up to Easter Sunday to commemorate the Passion, Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ.
Historically used as a way to explain the story of Jesus, Semana Santa traditions in Guatemala combine the Holy Week processions of Spanish Catholics from the 1500s with an ancient Mayan tradition of creating intricate alfombras (carpets) for kings to walk upon.
Naturally, serving as a Kiva Fellow in Guatemala during the country’s most vibrant and colorful time of year, I was excited to check it all out. From the most traditional and famous processions that take place in the hot spot colonial town of Antigua (known for being second to Spain for having the most fascinating processions) to some of the largest ones in the capital of Guatemala City, here’s a glimpse into how Guatemaltecos celebrate Semana Santa.
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Born and raised in Southern California, Kanchan, at a young age, had the opportunity to experience life outside of her home country through frequent trips to her family’s homeland of India, as well as other countries in Asia and Africa. Disturbed by the inequalities she observed during these travels, Kanchan arrived to college committed to understanding the significance of social power, and chose to major in Sociology. Upon graduating, in an effort to affect long-term social change, Kanchan worked with U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer and California State Assembly Speaker Emeritus Karen Bass before joining the national AmeriCorps program, Public Allies. Through this opportunity, Kanchan received an apprenticeship with After-School All-Stars (ASAS), an education nonprofit which provides free after-school programs to low-income, at-risk youth across the U.S. Through her work at ASAS, Kanchan had the privilege of helping thousands of youth foster a sense of self-esteem through exposure to activities that gave rise to self-sufficiency and prosperity. Kanchan is excited to take her skills and experiences to Central America as a Kiva Fellow and to learn about the effective and sustainable practices that microfinance can have in contributing to transformative change.