Right off the bat, I want to apologize for not keeping up with the latest images from Antigua’s Lent season vigils and processions. Events are now coming up fast and furious as we get closer to Holy Week. I hope to catch up sometime this week.
For the 24th day of Lent, I visited Santa Ana, one of the oldest villages surrounding Antigua and a popular option for foreigners quieter, more affordable option to Antigua’s high-priced real estate. Located southeast of Antigua, the entrance to this suburb is easily accessible via public transportation. However, something you should know is that the town’s popularity has kept it expanding further from the main road, which means that some houses in Santa Ana can be quite a long walk uphill from the main road. There are buses that do go into Santa Ana but only during market days (Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays).
Santa Ana’s plaza is fairly lively every night, and you can often find teens playing soccer on the square across the church and families eating dinner bought at street stalls on the north side of the plaza. More on that near the end of the post.
Santa Ana Vigil
This vigil was fairly well attended. Tons of vendors outside, as they were expecting thousands of people to visit well into the night. In the morning, the church was full of schoolchildren – vigils are a popular school outing, and many school groups can be seen making the trek from nearby schools.
Plaza in front of Santa Ana Church
The display itself was great, though I’ve found I’m not a fan of “deep” ones. When the display is so far back, it makes it hard for visitors to pay close attention to details. This display was way too front-loaded with fruits and other items, which made it hard to admire the unique gray sawdust carpet. Exhibit creators may not have had a choice – fruits, vegetables, and bread are usually donated by the faithful and sometimes there’s no other place to put them than in front of the display.
Vigil display at Santa Ana
Sawdust carpet close-up
Small display near entrance
Another display near entrance to church
Food Outside Church
As I mentioned earlier, there were many foods and handicrafts vendors outside the church. These vendors move from vigil to vigil, often paying a fee to the brotherhood that set up the church’s display.
I chose to eat at one of the “local” food stands – one of the permanent vendors that can be found in Santa Ana. The smell of grilled meats will pull me in every time.
A traditional dish you’ll find at most street fairs is meat plates. For Q15 you get a reasonable, filling meal that includes your choice of meats, pickled cabbage, refried black beans and two or three tortillas. Tasty AND filling!
This filling meal will cost Q15 ($2USD)
There was another vigil that day, a much smaller one at Escuela de Cristo church. I’ll cover that in my next post.
Have you visited Santa Ana?