Easter Week/Semana Santa Popayan Colombia

My legs wore out on the third night of processions, but, damn it, I was in Popayan and it was Semana Santa, so it was processions. The holy week processions have been going on here for something like 400 years. I imagine back a few hundred years ago the whole town proceeded along with the holy men and the flotilla of floats carried by exhausted looking mendicants and acolytes. I don’t know that the nuns carrying rather ominous looking crosses/sticks keeping the crowds in line were amongst the early marchers. Tears and wailing and gnashing of teeth seem the appropriate response to the week of passion and crucifixions.

But now there is a festive atmosphere with food, drink and balloon hawkers. Some of the solemn young women marching aside the large platforms bearing effigies of Christ and other figures bear candles and totter in high heels and miniskirts. The crowd is especially thick on Friday night and the figures are most deathly. Over the crowd’s heads hundreds of iphones flash and balloons float.  Neighbors chat and women in chairs carry on as rows of people stand in front of them, blocking the view but they don’t seem to mind.

I stood next to a man from Cali who wanted to know about my travels, and suggested I go take salsa lesson in Cali. It was all a very casual affair.

So, here are some photos:

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The crowds gather before the procession commences.

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An enterprising young man has rigged a portable coffee machine.

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