By Hannah Mead
For Colombia’s predominantly Catholic population, the Holy Week is the most important celebration of the year and many processions and religious ceremonies take place all over the country.
While some of us associate this time of year with chocolate eggs and the Easter bunny, holy week is a far more traditional affair in Colombia, with many people taking the time to remember and reflect upon the life and death of Jesus Christ.
Monday, Thursday and Friday are all national holidays and, during holy week, the cities are unusually quiet as schools close and many take the week off work. Many take advantage of the opportunity to visit relatives, or to just get out of town on holiday and relax.
Popayan is regarded as a religious centre and, in 2009, its holy week celebration was added to the UNESCO list of Intangible World Heritage Sites for its elaborate processions of flower-adorned floats, which is a 400-year old tradition that now attracts thousands of visitors each year.
Colombia’s capital of Bogota will be similarly engrossed in religious festivities, particularly in the central Candelaria district and on the mountain of Monserrate.
In Mompox, a tourism gem in the north of the country, women walk through the streets dressed in their finest clothes and jewellery to show their mourning of Jesus Christ.
Meanwhile, in the municipality of Silvia, in the southwestern department of Cauca, indigenous Colombians wear traditional clothes and celebrate by cooking their best dishes.
Palm Sunday marked the start of holy week, with processions taking place all over the country. Maundy Thursday marks the last supper and Good Friday the crucifixion. The final Sunday is the most important day of the week, when Christians celebrate the resurrection.