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Holy Week in Guatemala: Antichrist Not Welcome

Guatemala, as a former Spanish colony, has a heritage that includes not only Catholicism, but also the many Spanish traditions involved with it, including its most sacred expressions and traditions during holy week, or “Semana Santa.”

Blogger Victor Arriaza has a topical blog which covers all of the Catholic traditions in Guatemala with daily updates in “Cuaresma y Semana Santa in Guatemala” where you can see his pictures and El blog del Cucurucho.

In Antigua Guatemala the city is celebrating its “World famous Holy week” with religious displays and bright colors, as you can see at Antigua Daily Photo, which also goes into some of the week's traditions. You can find out what a “cucurucho” is, or why guatemalan “carpets” are so important.

The making of carpets from sawdust, pine-needles, flowers, vegetables is a community-forming tradition. People get together by block or near-by neighbors to create the carpets on which the processions will pass by. Sometimes the making of the carpets is done at night, all night so they are ready for next day's procession.

Religion in Guatemala is mostly conservative. Though Catholicism and, to a lesser degree, Protestantism are both practiced, other expressions of spirituality tend not to be accepted. The former Pope, Jean Paul II, visited the country three times. Most of Guatemala's public holidays commemorate Catholic festivities and the church still has influence in all kinds of official matters.

But alternative religions and sects are growing. Guatemala is a country of contrasts. Now we have a few so-called “antichrist sects”. One of them, “Creciendo en Gracia” appeared last week in the headlines of many blog posts. The leader of the sect, José Luis de Jesus Miranda, also known as “Papi” planned to come to visit Guatemala and promote his doctrine. He has called himself “The antichrist.” The announcement of his visit, predictably, gave everyone something to write about.

Say something! [ES] wrote that his visit was planned for the second week of April, even when in El Salvador and Honduras, his entry was denied. “Papi viene a Guatemala [ES]” (“Papi is coming to Guatemala”) was the title of his post, and he only linked to AP News. What was remarkable, however, was the comment thread, which had heated pronouncements either in favor or against his visit.

Comunicando [ES] adds:

Esta noticia es para comenzar a generar reacciones y abrir la discusión del tema. Aquí en Guatemala han comenzado a ganar seguidores. Al menos unos 100 dicen estar de su lado. Se distinguen por el tatuaje del 666 o de la SSS. Dicen estar libres de pecado.

The news of his visit is to try and inspire reactions and open discussion about the subject. Here in Guatemala they have already started to win over some followers. At least 100 claim to be with him. They identify themselves with a tatoo of “666” or “SSS”. They say that they are free of sin.

Ana writes:

Hasta el momento, las autoridades guatemaltecas no han dicho esta boca es mía, pero no sería raro que en un arranque de religiosidad similar a la de sus homólogos vecinos vetara al anticristo su ingreso al país.

So far the Guatemalan authorities haven't said they would deny his entry, but it wouldn't be strange for them to deny his entry like our like-minded neighbors out of a sense of religious preservation.

Blogger Voces de Guatemala [ES] added:

“En Guatemala, La Semana Santa es al igual que en estos países una larga semana llena de fe y cristiandad, sin embargo, muchas personas optan por convertir esta semana en una “Semana Zángana”, aprovechando a ir a todos lados en busca de los excesos de bebida alcohólica, droga y sexo”.

In Guatemala, even though Holy week is full of faith and Christianity, many people choose to have an hedonistic week, a wild week full of excesses, taking advantage of the time off work to travel, drink, do drugs and have sex.

What is important to bear in mind is that Guatemalan Constitution respects Freedom of Religion. Legally it is a secular state and must respect the right to religious freedom expressed in the International Covenant of Civic and Political Rights.

4 comments

  • Felicitaciones. Más que una semana zangana es una semana de libertad, que cada cual haga lo que le plazca.

    Y el Papi ese me parece un lunático ávido de publicidad y dinero pero cuidado porque en nuestra enfebrecida realidad su mensaje puede encontrar sustrato para germinar más.

  • k0k0peli

    Once again, a week of processions, pilgrims, preachers, tourists; surrounded by explosions, incense, smoking vehicles, incessent bells, shouts, chants; and the attendent pickpockets, prostitutes, police, dealers, drunks, druggies, hawkers, etc. Throwing one or more antichrists into the mix will only make the scene livelier. Of course, in Guatemala even a Mormon is an antichrist. Let the good times roll!

  • Me alegro que le hayan negado la entrada al individuo ese. Aqui en Panama hace 2 semanas, sus seguidores hicieron una marcha, pero no ha pasado mas nada…

  • El artículo en cuestión sobre La Semana Santa, debe de leerse mejor t entender que ese mensaje se le da a personas creyentes en dios y que optan por los excesos a los que el Sr. Roberto Lone se dirije.
    se les recomienda no leer entre líneas nada más para no sesgar la información que afecta directamente la intención de nuestra publicación.

    Gracias.

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