Each year, Larantuka celebrates the Holy week known as ‘Semana Santa’. It is held during the week before Easter Sunday. All along the Holy week, Catholic pilgrims from Flores and all over Indonesia flooded the tranquil city of Larantuka.
The prayers center around two religious icons. They are the statue of Jesus Christ (locally known as Tuan Ana), and the Virgin Mary (Localy known as Tuan Ma). The statues were brought to Larantuka by Portuguese missionaries Gaspar do Espírito Santo and Agostinho de Madalena in the 16th century. These statues are presented to the public only during Easter and are kept out-of-view for the rest of the year.
The procession of Semana Santa begins with Rabu Trewa or the Shackled Wednesday, which devotees gather to pray in the chapel, remembering the betrayal of Jesus by Judas Iscariot. It is the time mourning; a time when it drowns into solemnity and reflection for the purification of the soul. Followed by Maundy Thursday, devotees enact the tikam turo ritual in preparing the route for the following day’s seven kilometer procession by planting candles along the route.
The pinnacle of the rituals falls on Good Friday or the Sesta Vera. The door of the chapel of Tuan Ma and Tuan Ana (Jesus and the Virgin Mary) opens at ten o’clock in the morning. The statue of Tuan Ma (Maria), Tuan Ana (Jesus) and Meninho (baby Jesus) lead the procession.
The procession started and end at the Katedral Reinha Rosary. The parade draws a huge number of mass who makes stops in a number if points where scenes of the history of Jesus is theatrically performed as a commemoration in the event. The Sabtu Santo (Holy Saturday) and the Minggu Paskah (Easter Sunday) follow the next days, pointing the end of the entire Easter week procession.