Tag Archives: #culture

The Path of the Cross

The Latin term “Via Crucis” means “Path of the Cross” and is the story of what happened on the path that Christ walked during the Passion – from the Praetorium of Pontius Pilate to Calvary. It is also used to describe a prayer which is accompanied by periods of meditation on the events that happened along that path, as well as Christ’s death on the cross, His removal from the cross, and His burial. In addition to several prayers, fourteen meditations are interposed; these are called the Stations, and this name alludes to the stationary nature of those who are meditating.
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Food for Holy Week

In La Antigua and the rest of Guatemala, special dishes are prepared during Lent and Holy Week that highlight the variety of pre-Hispanic and Western elements that converge in a rich and flavorful cuisine.

Some of the dishes are considered to be “seasonal”. Fish is one such food; it’s allowed according to Lenten dietary guidelines (which prohibit the eating of red meat) and so is eaten during this time of year in great quantities.

As with most gastronomic celebrations, although the season’s foods can usually be prepared at home, they can also be ordered from elsewhere. Curtido is one of these dishes; it’s a fresh and colorful combination of vegetables including carrots, beets, and green beans. Bacalao a la vizcaína – a codfish dish with peppers, onions, tomatoes, garlic, and capers – is another. This delicacy requires sufficient preparation time for the dried and salted cod to soak and rehydrate, as well as much care in its preparation because of the large amount of salt which is used to preserve the fish. While some of these dishes are prepared with recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation (and which may include the family’s “secret ingredient”), they can also sometimes be found at food vendors’ stalls located in the plazas and parks outside of churches during holy vigils.
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Cofradías and Hermandades

During the Spanish colonial period, cofradías or religious brotherhoods were organized in Guatemala by priests who came to Central America from Spain to evangelize the Indigenous inhabitants. Four cofradías were founded among those living in the Spanish-ruled Kingdom of Guatemala; these were responsible for the upkeep, artistic decoration, and maintenance of the kingdom’s chapels.

#Escuela de Cristo #Geovin Morales #cofradias #hermandad
Foto por: Geovin Morales

An hermandad is another type of brotherhood association; it’s composed of Catholic parishioners who join together to perform religious works and whose membership is based on the veneration of a particular religious statue (imagen) or on membership in a particular parish church.

These brotherhoods – both cofradías and hermandades – work with parish churches and conduct activities that allow them to raise funds in order to carry out activities related to the preservation of the church’s traditions and celebrations.

During Lent and Holy Week, the planning and celebrating of holy vigils, processions, and concerts of seasonal music is done by the church’s hermandad and the cofradía. These brotherhoods also keep parishioners and others informed about processions, holy vigils, and other events, as well as all the attendant details and planning related to those celebrations.

Members of the hermandad ensure that each activity is conducted with order and respect for both the church and the imágenes that are venerated there. In addition, members of the brotherhoods, along with church authorities, control the order of the processions’ elements, the bands and the dirges they play, the processional routes, and other details.

#Raul Armas #hermandad #cofradias
Foto por: Raul Armas

 

Brotherhood members must at all times be worthy representatives of the church and its principles and have love and respect for the imagen they venerate.

 

Written by: Sofía Letona

Photos by: Raul Armas

Beverages of Holy Week

Chinchivir

#Chinchivir #Raul Armas #bebidas #semana santa

Seeing cucuruchos in their purple robes is a sure sign that a procession is nearby. Since the days of the Spanish colonia there has been an unwritten rule that no cucurucho should leave the ranks of the faithful that accompany processions from start to finish. The only exception to this rule was to step away from the procession in order to eat and drink.

Chinchivir is known as “the beverage of cucuruchos”. It’s a light brown-colored drink that has been made in La Antigua for decades. The proprietors of the “Don Chepe Armas” store are renowned for being the preeminent maker of chinchivir.

Chinchivir is an artisanal beverage made with the juice of several varieties of limes and lemons, along with a special mix of herbs and spices – like cinnamon, cloves, and allspice. It’s a secret recipe that has been handed down through the generations, and it’s a drink that’s sure to quench your thirst during warm days of seeing alfombras and watching procesiones.

Atoles

#Atol de Elote #bebidas #tipicas #semana santa

Different varieties of atol have been an ever-present part of Antigüeños’ (and Guatemalans’) lives since the colonial era. These thick, hot drinks are based on different ingredients like corn, cornmeal, plantain, and beans, and can be found for sale in almost any park in La Antigua throughout the year, and the Lenten season is no exception. Cooking these atoles takes a lot of time, especially because there are many myths, legends, and superstitions about how they’re cooked and who may or may not partake in their preparation. It’s said that only one person can prepare corn atol and if someone else even touches the stirring spoon or ladle, they may end up getting cut. There are even rules that especially apply to pregnant women, whose mere presence in the kitchen when an atol is being prepared is said to cause the atol to burn and ruin the taste.

Los Frescos

#fresco #bebida #semana santa #tipica

The routes of the processions are usually very long, and because big containers of water or other beverages are too heavy to carry comfortably, sales of frescos are among the most sought after throughout the day of a procession. A fresco (which translates as “fresh”) is a sweetened natural drink served cold, such as horchata (made from rice and cinnamon), tamarindo (a tamarind-based drink), rosa de Jamaica (a hibiscus tea) and limonada con chan (lemonade with chia seeds).

You’ll be able to quickly and easily recognize a fresco vendor in the crowd: they have large glass containers filled with ice and various frescos. Although you can get the drinks to go – served in plastic cups – or you can drink your fresco right there in a glass, one of the very chapín (Guatemalan) ways to drink fresco is to get it to go in a plastic bag with a straw; it won’t weigh you down, and you can carry it easily. (But don’t set it down, or you’ll spill it all!)

Enjoy Guatemala’s traditional beverages, and remember that you’re only able to try some of them during this time of year. So what are you waiting for? Try them… you’re sure to like them.

Batido

#batido #jarro #bebidas #semana santa #tipica

At some of the food stands in front of churches, it’s not uncommon to see a large number of big clay pots next to a giant pot being warmed by a charcoal fire. These food stalls are the perfect place to be introduced to a traditional Lenten drink which – unless you’re very, very lucky – you won’t see again until November and December: the batido.

As with all traditional Guatemalan beverages, the recipe for this drink is a secret that is never disclosed by the families who have prepared batidos for years. Some of the ingredients – which can be guessed because of the delicious flavors – are: brown sugar from sugar cane, pineapple, allspice, cinnamon, and pinol (a flour made from toasted corn). These ingredients – as well as those that will never be revealed – are whipped and beaten for hours (thus “batido” which means “beaten”) until the drink takes on a perfect consistency. The scrumptious flavor is often a surprise for those who try it for the first time, and there are many more who seek it out because it’s a traditional Lenten favorite.

Written by: Raul Armas