Holy Week in Comayagua
Normally a sleepy colonial town, Comayagua explodes with life during Semana Santa (Holy Week), the week between Palm Sunday and Easter.
Although not on the scale of its more famous neighbor, Antigua, Comayagua also has a long tradition of processions over brilliantly colored sawdust carpets. It’s a sight well worth seeing if in Honduras over Easter week; just be sure to reserve your hotel room well in advance.
Exact times are certainly subject to change from year to year, but hopefully the guidelines here will at least help you get to the right place at the right time.
The procession of the Señor de la Burrita (Lord of the Little Donkey) begins at La Caridad church at 7 or 8 a.m., accompanied by music and hundreds of palm-waving celebrants.
Church altars are elaborately set in remembrance of Jesus’ Last Supper, open for admiring at 5 p.m. At 6:30 p.m. there is a procession of the Holy Sacrament around the Parque la Libertad, arriving at the monument at the cathedral. Then at 9 or 10 p.m. a silent procession begins in memory of Jesus’ incarceration, starting at La Merced and ending at dawn inside the cathedral.
The procession of Via Crucis begins at 8:30 a.m., at the San Francisco church, replete with pointy-capped penitents and cross-bearing Jesuses. The procession crosses the sawdust carpets throughout the city, ending with a reenactment of the crucifixion at the cathedral at noon.
The all-female procession of the Virgin Mary of Loneliness begins at 4 p.m. at the cathedral.
A procession called the Carreritas de San Juan (Saint John’s Races) begins at La Caridad church at 8 a.m., with the Virgin of La Caridad, Mary Magdalene, Veronica, and Saint John searching for Jesus throughout town. (Veronica is a woman said to have wiped Jesus’ face with a cloth during his walk to Golgotha, an act that is remembered at the sixth station of the cross, the sixth stop on the Via Crucis procession.) The images are brought together in front of the Casa de la Cultura, to later enter the cathedral at the start of Easter mass at 10 a.m.
© Chris Humphrey and Amy E. Robertson from Moon Honduras, 5th Edition