Holy Week in Guatemala


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Inscribed in 2022 (17.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

© Ministry of Culture and Sport, Guatemala, 2008

Holy Week in Guatemala is one of the country’s most notable events, entailing processions, vigils, funeral marches, seasonal gastronomy and the creation of carpets, orchards and altars. On this occasion, the fronts of houses and buildings are also decorated, adding to the festive atmosphere. Holy Week is a religious and cultural celebration that commemorates the passion, death and resurrection of Christ. It encompasses a series of activities and common elements that vary from one region to the next. The practices and traditions associated with Holy Week have been transmitted to younger generations for centuries, through active participation in the event and preparations, as well as through public media. Parishioners, neighbours, tourists, artisans, musicians and authorities participate in the preparations and celebrations, giving the event its universal and cohesive character. The event promotes tolerance and inclusion due to the participation of people from different social groups and fosters mutual respect and appreciation among the individuals and institutions involved. A representation of the cultural diversity of the country, for centuries it has represented an identification with pain and a cult of death that was familiar to Guatemala’s original inhabitants, a characteristic that remains to this day and that, despite an apparent contradiction, symbolizes hope and union.