Semana Santa or Holy Week. Purple parades, Medieval costumes and a little light flagellation

Since the 4th century, Semana Santa celebrates events leading up to Easter Sunday.

Celebrated all over Latin America, Semana Santa or Holy Week has its unofficial HQ in Spain.

Penitents hold hundreds of processions around the clock.

Creepy since 1940.

 

Brotherhoods wear a tunic and pointed hood to hide their identities as they repent.

The tradition dates back to the Middle Ages.

We can thank the Klu Klux Clan’s co-opting of the robes for that extra creepy flavor.

 

Penitents from the ‘Cristo de las Injurias’ brotherhood fall silent for Holy Wednesday.

 

A Christ of the Hearsay brotherhood member holds her hooded baby during ‘Procesion del Silencio’ in Zamora.

 

People rejoice in the streets, some made up with oil and ash like these men in Puebla, Mexico.

 

A tradition in parts of Mexico is flagellation for voluntary penance using whips or rods.

 

Valencia pays tribute to the “Virgen de los Desamparados” (Virgin of the Defenseless).

Thousands of men, women, and children dress in gorgeous 18th and 19th-century garb.

 

These colorful carpets or “alfombras”  in Antigua disappear the moment the “pilgrims” touch them.

That’s because they’re made of sawdust.

People dye sawdust vivid colors and painstakingly weave flowers, pine needles, and fruit into it.

 

In Antigua, Guatemala, a parade can easily start at 3 pm and finish at 2 am.

 

More than half a million pilgrims descend on this city of 46,000 for the spectacular Semana Santa parades.

 

 

Sources: Amusingplanet, Time, Guardian

Siobhan O’Shea is a freelance writer. She writes about pretty much everything but especially likes to bring readers’ attention to new tech, marketing, human behavior, and other oddities.