“While the word cucuruchos now refers to the men who carry Semana Santa floats, the word originally meant a piece of cloth, paper or card that formed a cone, like the traditional hoods used for the processions. Its meaning has evolved over the centuries and is now used to talk about the actual person doing the carrying. Women who carry their own floats at different times are called Las Dolorosas.”
I think that the above description is adequate. A cucurucho or a Dolorosa is a person who carries these massive floats or Anda’s for the varied processions through the streets of Antigua. The Anda is a massive wooden float with life-size replications of religious scenes. The characters are made of wood and/or fiberglass. The Anda’s can weigh anywhere up to about 7,000 lbs! Imagine carrying that on one shoulder with 100 or so of your close friends ?!?
(Funeral Procession Cucuruchos)
No only do these Cucuruchos and Las Dolorosas have a massive weight to bear, there is also a monetary cost. According to a local source; the cucuruchos and dolorosas pay anywhere from 200-1200 (QTL) which is equivalent to $25-250 USD. This is quite a heafty price for the local population. I forgot to mention that the processions can last anywhere from 12-16 hours!! Fortunately, they have thousands of ‘volunteers’ and rotate about every block.
(Funeral Procession La Dolorosa’s)
Even the children get involved as Cucuruchos and Las Dolorosas (although they might be referred to by a different name; I’m unsure). There is a parade especially for them. Interestingly, the boys procession was surrounded by proud parents and the girls….Not?
(If you look closely, you can barely see the white cloth and purple rope around the boys heads carrying the anda. I couldn’t get a good shot due to the parents blocking my view)
(Alternately, I had a perfect view of the girls with only a handful of parents in attendance.)
It’s truly a family affair with infants, young children and old alike dressed for the processions.
(This little guy was so cute and gave me the perfect smile for my photo)
(This group was adorable and all dressed and on the way to the procession.)
I can’t forget to mention the band. Although I am certain that they played and continuous loop of the same songs for the entire weekend; excluding Easter Sunday.
(The band had a bit of New Orleans sound to it; reminiscent of a good jazz funeral)
If you are intrigued by the thought of being a Cucurucho or Las Dolorosa; I have been told that it’s possible. All you have to do is contact one of the cathedrals and pay the price. You will also have to adorn yourself in the appropriate outfit which I am told is easy to find in many specialty stores here in Antigua. I observed one La Dolorosa that was obviously Not a local and although I didn’t get a photo of her….I assure you that she did NOT look like she was having a good time!
Have you attended a Semana Santa celebration? If so, tell me about it in the comments below.
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