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Semana Santa begins

New construction complete where Calle Santander meets the lake.

New construction complete where Calle Santander meets the lake.

This is my first Semana Santa in Panajachel. I was first here in 2012 but have been away for months at a time dealing with moving and, well, more. In the process I have missed Semana Santa.

I had assumed it would be a lot like Christmas — lots of people, many from other countries, with a big percentage from the U.S. but talking to locals about this, they told me this was more like a Guatemala holiday. Thinking back to my Costa Rica and Nicaragua experiences, this makes sense.

A really good comparison is what happened in Nicaragua during Semana Santa. Huge numbers of Gringos head for the ocean in San Juan del Sur but it is also a Nicaraguan holiday. What you find is that huge numbers of Nicaraguans head for San Jorge which is on Lake Nicaragua. (Easter at San Jorge is one photo of what you see on the lake on Semana Santa. One big difference between Lake Nicaragua and here is that you could surf in the lake there because of a virtually constant wind.)

Usually there are no stalls set up here.

Usually there are no stalls set up here.

Getting back to Pana, there are a lot of people and a lot of stalls set up near the lake where there usually are none. What was different was that most of the people were speaking Spanish. In fact, there are lots of houses in Pana that are owned by people who live in Guatemala City. Empty most of the year but the families show up for Semana Santa.

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