“Palace Hotel, Guatemala, C.A.” (C.A. stands for Central America)Apr. 4, 1966
Elizabeth and I are enjoying a wonderful trip. We are looking forward to the processions and ceremonies of Holy Week. Will return to Florida Saturday.
This is fabulous country. You should see it!
This postcard is not much to look at, though the stamp is cool. Rather, I bought it exclusively for the message, because I was in Guatemala during Holy Week (la semana santa, from Palm Sunday to Easter), and failed to bring home a postcard!
It was an overstuffed trip–a different town almost every day. Wherever we went, the wildly painted buses (old American school buses, called chicken buses) were carrying la semana santa merrymakers to the big cities. Some of the buses had streamers, lights, or music for the occasion.This photo is from the article Chicken Buses of Guatemala
The only place we stayed more than one night was the village of San Antonio Palopó where we were hosted by El Paraiso Cooperative, a leader in Guatemalan fair trade coffee. Our last day there was Easter. The locals went to church–I remember the bells ringing–and then the children came to play with us (my fellow travelers and I were teenagers at the time). I worried about running the kids around too much, because most of them were dressed up, perhaps in their best clothes. A group of girls taught me to play la reina dice (the queen says…), in which “the queen” tells everyone to bring her a certain type of thing–a stick, a rock, a leaf–and everyone races to find one and be the first to bring it to her.
That night, the last of the trip, we arrived back in Guatemala City where we’d started, in time to see the processions referred to in the postcard. A parade of priests, various robed church groups, and women all in black carrying massive altars with figurines of Jesus, Mary, and saints. Neighborhood brass bands honked along, and I recall fireworks as well.But my favorite thing was the floral carpets. Before the procession, people laid stencils in the street, then scattered flower petals and dyed sawdust over them. When they removed the stencils, it looked like someone had rolled out a persian rug a block long. Devoted work for the procession to tread down.
Central America shines when it comes to the creativity of everyday people. A reminder that you don’t have to be “an artist” to bring beauty to the world.