For centuries, the color purple has played a significant role in the Christian religion during Holy Week surrounding Easter. The color purple along with red, black, white and gold, has an important symbolic meaning as the color of royalty and suffering. It’s significance is not a coincidence given the expense and difficulty in creating the color purple in early times. Furthermore, the color has often symbolized the suffering of Jesus Christ during the crucifixion.

I had the pleasure of witnessing the power of purple during a recent visit to Guatemala a week before Semana Santa (“Holy Week”).

Antigua’s Semana Santa is considered the most important cultural and religious event in all of Guatemala and there is no city more important during this sacred week than Antigua. It can be argued that Antigua has perhaps the largest, most traditional and famous Semana Santas in the world. During this time, thousands of tourists flock to Antigua to witness the spectacular religious processions, alfombras (“carpets”), fabulous floats and vigils.  It is said to be an experience of a lifetime; an experience you will never ever forget.

During Semana Santa, the importance of purple can be found throughout the city. It is represented in the colorful purple Semana Santa flags that colorfully decorate the windows, buildings and fences of the city. It can be found in the brilliantly colored alfombras that paint the streets. It can be seen in the deep purple costumes worn in the processions. And, ironically enough, it can also be seen in the hundreds of blooming jacarandastrees throughout the city. If that isn’t a coincidence, I don’t know what else it could mean!

Here are some of my favorite moments captured on film, representing the power of purple during Antigua’s world-renown Semana Santa.

The first thing I noticed were the lovely purple and white Semana Santa flags. They were everywhere, decorating the buildings, awnings and churches throughout Antigua.

There are tons of places throughout town selling Semana Santa gear such as the shop below.  The moldings for making alfombras can be seen in the lower righthand corner.

Throughout the weeks leading up to Semana Santa and during the actual week, there are live processions of gorgeously decorated floats. The color purple is dominant in the costumes of the piety. Below is a children’s procession. Note the purple cloaks. 

Even the insides of churches were predominately decorated in the color purple. Such as the purple in the altar below.

And the purple found brilliantly displayed in the alfrombras.

I can only imagine the full effect of Semana Santa. Someday I hope to go and see the amazing colors of life and religion the echo this time.

This post is part of the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Purple. to see more entries, please click here.


  1. I didn’t realize (or perhaps I forgot) that you were in Antigua for Semana Santa! What an incredible experience that must have been. These photos are stunning (not least because I happen to adore the color purple).

  2. Great post! Thank you for the interesting background…and your beautiful photographs.

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