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Lent starts with a mark


Faithuls gather outside La Merded in La Antigua Guatemala. Photo: Santiago Billy/Comvite
Faithuls gather outside La Merded in La Antigua Guatemala. Photo: Santiago Billy/Comvite

Today marks the beginning of Lent. In countries with a large Catholic presence like Guatemala, this means that you’re bound to see people walking around all day with ash crosses smudged on their foreheads. It’s the beginning of a season of slow-paced bustle set to the tune of marching bands. It is the time when the Cucuruchos (more on that later) awaken from their slumber and diligently carry religious images through the streets of towns and cities across the country on top of complex floral carpets carefully crafted for the occasion.

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