Holy Monday Around Lake Atitlán: Washing Maximon’s Clothes

Holy Monday - Washing Maximon's clothes © Meghan Eckman

This year, Maximón is housed at San Antonio cofradía. Each year during Holy Week, Maximón is dismembered, his clothes are washed, a new mask is carved, and he is reassembled again. The traditionalist Maya interpret the time of Christ’s death as a time when Maximón is reborn.

On the Monday of Holy Week each year, known as Holy Monday, the cofradía that houses Maximón collects the clothes that Maximón has worn throughout the year. They march in procession, carrying washing stones and Maximon’s clothes to Lake Atitlan, where his clothes are ritually washed, thus cleansing the clothes of the sins confessed to Maximón throughout the year. It is interesting to note that while women typically do the washing in Guatemala, on this day – it is only men who are allowed to wash Maximon’s clothes.

Text and photos by Meghan Eckman

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