Palm Sunday in San Miguel
By Antonio De Jesús Aguado
Palm Sunday is celebrated in the city with two processions. One of them, on calle San Francisco, includes a reenactment of the Nazarene riding a donkey. The processions are held to recall the fulfillment of the prophecy of the arrival of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem to save it.
The Messiah, as son of God, could have arrived in Jerusalem riding a camel, an elephant, a horse or any other beast, but he decided to ride a donkey instead. According to the story, he chose a donkey because it is the most humble animal, and it was the transportation used by slaves at the time.
Evidently, the people of Jerusalem knew the prophecy, and for that reason when he arrived they started tossing palm fronds, cloth and flowers in Jesus’ path. The palms symbolize victory. When they saw him, they began to chant “Hossana!” (Save us!).
The procession organized by the church of San Francisco has been held for the last 20 years. At 9:30am, people start gathering outside of the Calvario, a church at the top of calle San Francisco, to walk in a procession toward San Francisco church, where a mass is celebrated.
At 10am, the procession leaves Calvario and descends along calle San Francisco street, led by three acolytes and behind them, riding a donkey, the Nazarene. The Messiah is followed by 12 men portraying the apostles, followed by other marchers.
The other procession takes place at 11am along calle Sollano, which is adorned with palms, from Parque Juárez to Correo. The procession leaves Parque Juárez led by the parish priest, and behind him parishioners carry a sculpture of Jesus riding a donkey. The procession ends at the Parroquia.
On Palm Sunday, intricately woven palm fronds in the shape of crosses, flowers, stars, and other designs are sold outside the churches. These are taken by their purchasers to mass, where they are blessed. Afterwards, they are hung in doors or windows or placed on altars to protect the family from evil.