Today was a wonderful blessed day! In my younger years I used to be what it is known as "a devoted bearer". Later married with children I participated more sporadically and then we moved to the US and have not been back to a Semana Santa for 5 years.
Last Thursday at a dinner party I was telling some friends of my parents how much I wished I could participate so they managed to get me a "turn". A "turn" consists of your ticket to bear the procession for a block. There are honor and ordinary turns according to where it is: taking it out of the church, bringing it in, passing in front of a church, etc. There are 50 to 200 turns in a processional way and the prices range form Q100.00 - Q300.00 per person ($12-$35)
.This procession is from the Church of La Recolección or as people would say de La Reco.
The cortege is formed by the "Brotherhood of the Consecrated Image of the Nazarene Consoler Jesus" in charge of the float of Jesus and the "Sisterhood of the Consecrated Image of Mary of Grief" in charge of the float of Mary.
The anticipation starts with people preparing rugs made out of sawdust, pine, flowers, etc.
Next the "cuchuruchos", the men in purple and white or purple and black robes, lead the way to the float of Jesus.
The bearers of Jesus will be the ones to walk on the delicate rugs.
Just before the procession the smell of incense puts everyone in a spiritual state of mind.
The image of Jesus Nazareno del Consuelo is attributed to Juan Ganuza in the mid 19th Century and consecrated in 1956.
Many logistic tasks are involved, one of them raising the electrical wires along the processional way, as it can be appreciatted in the picture below.
The float is carried by 100 men, 50 on each side. Some turns are harder than others depending on how even the height of the bearers is. You can see in the picture below this was a hard turn to bear.
Jesus is followed then by the cortege of La Consagrada Imagen de la Virgen de Dolores. (There are two types of Images "de Dolores" and "de Soledad", the ones that are "de Dolores" have open arms ande the ones that are "de Soledad" have hands in prayer)
Before Mary comes Saint John disciple and Mary of Magdalene. In this particular procession both are bore by women. Usually when you buy a turn for Mary you get one for either of them.
The float is bore by 60 women, 3o on each side. The men help with direction and with raising the float every so often.
In this particular turn you can see girls in their school uniform, this is exclusive to the Colegio Nazareno and since we are friends with the owners I was lucky (blessed) to be part of it.
You can see me next to last. I am usually towards the end since I am tall for Guatemalan average.
This image dates to the 18th Century and has a beautiful expression of sorrow and serenity combined.