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Semana Santa Holy Week Procession in Chicago

A Chicago Procession.

A Semana Santa Holy Week Procession in Ravenswood.

Last year at this time I was studying Spanish in Guatemala. It was lent when I was there and, during Semana Santa, Holy Week, the days leading up to Easter and the month before, daily religious processions and colorful sawdust alfombras filled the streets. Men, women, and children, dressed in hooded robes would carry heavy wooden platforms topped with elaborate depictions of Jesus. Up front, someone would swing a metal canister burning incense that left trails of smoke and musk. Some processions were small: one scene carried by a few people through the streets. Other times, they were big and elaborate and long, attracting crowds so big that a 2-block journey through might take over an hour.

On Sunday, on a rainy afternoon in Chicago, a church down the block from me held a procession that wound through the streets of Ravenswood.

There were a few more jackets for the spring chill, an extra Bears tote bag slung across a shoulder, but it was so much the same. The same purples. The same numbered wooden base. The same musky incense in the same metal canisters.

Semana Santa Holy Week Procession in Chicago, Illinois

Semana Santa Holy Week Procession in Chicago, Illinois

Semana Santa Holy Week Procession in Chicago, Illinois

Semana Santa Holy Week Procession in Chicago, Illinois

Semana Santa Holy Week Procession in Chicago, Illinois

 

A Chicago Procession. A Semana Santa Holy Week Procession in Ravenswood.
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4 Comments
  • Tammy
    April 14, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    Thanks for sharing, Val! This is such a great example of how diverse (if not still segregated) Chicago is!

  • Priya
    April 23, 2014 at 4:03 am

    Wow, in ALL the years I’ve lived in Chicago, never have I seen something like this.

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