April 2009 Issue: Holy Week in Xela: Don’t Skip Town!
By the time you get your mitts on this issue of XelaWho, Guatemala will be gearing up for Holy Week, a holiday that rivals Christmas on the festivity scale. While Panajachel will have the party vibe and Antigua all the pomp and attention, lower-key Xela will have lots going on worth sticking around for.
Although many Quetzaltecos head for the beach early in the week, events such as processions and commemorations of Jesus Christ’s death go on all week. Later on, many vacationers return to participate in the big Viernes Santo (Good Friday) celebrations, when colorful carpets of sawdust are created around the Parque Central and along the routes of the processions. Each major church has its own procession featuring ‘floats’ of Jesus Christ or Mary, with a few initiating early in the morning but most in the late afternoon.
The Sábado de Gloria (Holy Saturday) tradition is that parents will pursue and lightly ‘whack’ their kids in the rear with a stick, the idea being that it helps them to grow. The kids find fun in attempting to escape the mild lashing. Finally, the celebrations continue through Domingo de Resurrección (Easter Sunday), including a small festival in the city center.
Turning to internal news – in case you skipped both the front cover AND table of contents, XelaWho has added a handy new guide to finding wireless Internet.
We’ve also had a changing of the editorial guard. Over the past several months, native Coloradan Cynthia Ord was the creative and logistical energy behind XelaWho. While we joke about the amateur level of our journalistic enterprise, the reality is that during her tenure, Cynthia brought numerous insights, useful tips and a sharp wit to these pages. She has since escaped to catch some heat in Nicaragua before ending up in graduate school in Spain. We wish her all the best.
The new puller of the puppet strings is me, James Gray. I recently finished graduate school in forestry at Michigan State University and returned to Xela after completing a research project here. When not cranking out filler for this fine publication, I work with an organization that conserves forests in the region.
I look forward to interacting with you in the following months. My aim is to continue XelaWho’s tradition of being the wittiest and most useful English-language publication in Xela for visitors and locals alike. Finally, keep those article ideas coming, all of you great writers out there!