Each year, the week before Easter Sunday, the town of Larantuka, East Flores, solemnly celebrates the Holy Week, popularly known here as "Semana Santa". This year the series of prayers and processions will take place from 23rd to 27th March 2016.
During this special week, the small town of Larantuka will be thronged with thousands of Catholic pilgrims, coming not only from surrounding islands in Flores but also from Java, Bali, around Indonesia, joined by many international tourists. This is because of Larantuka's unique commemoration of Holy Week which blends Old Portuguese devotion with local tradition originating from the 16th century.
Pilgrims from around Flores and Indonesia come here to pray and participate in this one of a kind procession.
The Semana Santa will commence with the Rabu Trewa or Shackled Wednesday (or Ash Wednesday) on 23rd March, on the mid-Easter week. On this day, congregations gather in chapels and pray, remembering the betrayal of Jesus by Judas Iscariot which led to Jesus' arrest, shackling and crucifixion. This is the time when the town of Larantuka turns into the Town of Mourning; a time when it drowns into solemnity and reflection for the purification of the soul.
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