There are no Easter Eggs in Nicaragua… Nor hot-cross buns. However, there is an overabundance of Semana Santa Processions (Holy Week Parades) and Easter is much, much more than an excuse to eat far too much chocolate and bread-and-buttery goodness.
There have been parades all week, but the main parades tend to occur on Viernes Santa (Good Friday). So yesterday many of us headed down to watch the final stages of the parade for San Juan (the “suburb” of La Concepcion where La Mariposa Spanish School and EcoHotel is located) with our conversation teachers.
The Semana Santa procession started at 7am and we joined right at the end between 10am and 10:30am. 3.5 hours of very slow movement through the suburb with hundreds and hundreds of people praying and singing. My teacher told me that most of San Juan is Catholic and the majority were there following the procession of Jesus and Mary through the streets to different stations of the cross.
Of course, there was a brass band to accompany them.
And the Catholic Church was collecting donations.
It was an incredibly hot day (April is the hottest month in Nicaragua), hence all the umbrellas to offer some kind of shade for the duration of the Semana Santa procession. One of the things that fascinates me here in Nicaragua, is that despite the heat (it’s always hot here) everyone wears jeans. I had sweat running down my back and I was wearing light weight travel clothes! I also felt a bit sorry for the kids that had dressed up – it had to have been hot under all that after 3 hours, despite the smiles.
The highlight for me was right at the end of the parade when the Jews – young people from the church dressed up in disguises – ran through the streets carrying Jesus aloft on the cross.
My teacher told me that young kids are usually very scared of the Jews in the parade and I can understand why! Wonderful masks and headpieces, and lots and lots of noise and fast-paced movement.
To give you an idea of the noise and movement – this was the last run they did. By this time Jesus had gotten off the cross and a wannabe Jesus went for the ride 🙂
Finally, after an hour or so out in the hot sun we bought a sorbet and headed back to school.