Monday, April 5, 2010

Semaña Santa

Semaña Santa is the biggest Holiday in Honduras. Independence Day and Christmas are a close second, but nothing can beat this celebration. Most government offices close down and workers take this week to plan their vacations. Local banks close from Wednesday to the end of the week and almost everything stops on Good Friday. Hotel bookings are hard to come by and flying on Good Friday, or any day that week, is almost impossible. Flights are booked up well in advance and on Good Friday no planes fly to the island! If you ever plan to visit Guanaja Easter Week, please think twice!

This year the weather cooperated by being sunny, breezy and warm. For the locals here on the island this is the one weekend when they go to the beach. For some families, it is the only time they get to the beaches on the West side of the island and people come out in droves.

Picnic dinners are packed, beach toys are loaded, mothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, Grandparents, are all loaded in boats for the 10-30 minute trek (depending upon where you live) for a day at the beach.

Everyone goes the same route - through the canal. In years past this was sometimes blocked due to the influx of sand into the West mouth of the canal from the Winters' "Northers." However, due to the kindness of Bill Pullum, owner of Clark Cay, a wall was built on either side of the mouth of the canal and now it remains virtually passable all year round. This year, however, for some reason the Municipal decided to dredge this area possibly thinking that the passage area may have gotten a little too shallow for some boats. Also, I found at least 22 solar lights on either side of the canal for its entire length. I do not know who paid for them or installed them and have to assume it was the work of the Municipal government. This may contribute to people staying at the beaches a little longer as now there will be lights to guide them.

Also, the beaches from the East side were cleaned up just prior to Semaña Santa and everything was done to make this a pleasurable week. Restaurants stocked up on food and beverages, stores stocked up on beach items, and everyone looked forward to a day at the beach.

We went to Bo's Island House on Sunday to have an Easter meal provided by Martha and her Mother, Maria. The "usual" Easter meal in the States can be a full-blown dinner with ham and all the trimming or fried chicken, hamburgers or hot dogs on a picnic.

Here in Honduras there does not seem to be a traditional meal; typical Honduran food is served. We were offered our traditional chicken, fish or seafood at Bo's but today another dish that I had not tasted was introduced. Fried plantains were layed out in a layered circle, topped by shredded cabbage, topped by "carne molida" (hamburger to gringos) and a light tomato sauce sprinkled with queso duro (hard shredded cheese) which is akin to Parmesan cheese but with a lighter taste. My husband got chicken and I settled on the new dish which turned out to be quite tasty and very, very filling.

There were a variety of activities going on, from children swiming and snorkeling in the water, to couples walking the white sandy beaches. Of course there are always children digging in the sand hoping to discover treasures or just to build a castle or two. Soccer games were organized or some people preferred to sit with families and friends and talk or doze in a hammock. People walked, rode bicycles, rowed boats or were on horseback - all varieties of getting about. Music was heard from portable stereos and, in one case, a large area had been converted to a palm-covered structure with huge speakers playing Spanish music.

Since transportation to the beach is by boat (the main mode of transportation on this island), there were a lot of boats present and each had taken their quota of people. The price of gas is high here (on the average up to $4 a gallon), so as many people as possible are packed into a boat and transported for the full day.

All in all, it was a pleasant day; a little overcast with choppy seas, but a wonderful day at the beach.

Happy Semaña Santa


  1. What a concept, everyone closes up shop and goes to the beach. :-)


  2. Oh thank you Sharon. I've been waiting for pictures of the festivities.

  3. Thanks for filling us in on Semana Santa, Sharon! We have never experienced it. Happy Easter, Ken and Melin

  4. Thanks for your view from the Island but especially for the great work with the photos! Love the mix of collage and placements -lots more for me to learn...

  5. We had to leave Guanaja early Sunday morning. We so wished we could have stayed there for the festivities. Thank you for the blog and the photos.
    Eugene and Cindy

  6. Thanks for the post and the pictures, Sharon. Due to my bummed up ankle, I didn't get to the beach this year.