Thursday, February 22, 2018

Processional on the First Sunday of Lent

Colored Sawdust used to create mat

In February, as Lent approaches, the Jacaranda trees which are all around Antigua bloom. Their purple petals are royal in color and set the scene for the season. Antigua is known for it's processionals and on each Sunday in Lent, A processional will begin at a church on the edge of town and wind its way toward the site of the old cathedral at the City's Center. I was blessed to be in Antigua for the first such processional for 2018.  In preparation, large color designs made of flowers and/or colored sawdust, are placed along the route of the processional. 
Flowers are used for this mat


Those with banners lead the processional 
While the processional is still a ways away, young men with banners began to make their way down the street as the music from the band can be heard long before one sees the musicians.

The largest float with the suffering Jesus
As the processional approaches, priests swing censers filling the air with incense.  Immediately my head began to react to the smell and I realize why I could never be a Catholic or Orthodox or Buddhist priests (there's other reasons, but my allergies is at the top of the list). 


The floats are carried on the shoulders of men who wear purple robes.  Those who carry the float are exchanged each block.  As they slowly move forward, the float seems to rock back and forth. Time seems to appear to slow down as the float waddles down the street carried by local men.
The statue of Jesus carrying the cross provides a visual that goes well with the mournful sounds coming from the band.

The band follows the Jesus float, providing a mournful tune to encourage those who are a witness to the processional to reflect on their sins and on our human role in crucifying the Savior.

Following Jesus is a float of the blessed mother of the Savior, Mary.

I think these were statues of Mary and Joseph.

As soon as the processional passed, men were out with shovels and racks to clean up the streets. The vegetation and sawdust was tossed into a front-end loader who would dump the waste into the back of waiting pickup trucks. 

It was over in 30 minutes. Even though my head was clogged, it wouldn't have missed this experience.  It was also beautiful and mysterious.  

No comments:

Post a Comment

My blog

My own going blog is "The Pulpit and the Pen"   Come over and visit!