Semana Santa highlights
By Jade Arroyo
Semana Santa is vividly experienced in town, a time where hundreds of people of different nationalities and beliefs gather in the streets to witness these magnificent and solemn parades of sacred images. We present you the most important ones.
San Luis Rey Via Crucis
On Thursday and Friday, April 17 and 18, the neighbourhood of San Luis Rey makes its own Via Crucis to the church. It starts on Thursday at 7pm with a representation of the Last Supper. The Via Crucis at San Luis Rey begins on the Friday morning, but the real parade happens at noon. The residents enact the Passion of Christ, with the men that represent Jesus and the two thieves being tied to a cross, simulating the crucifixion.
Atotonilco Via Crucis
At Friday 17 noon’s, the re-enactment goes with Jesus’ trial before Pontius Pilate, at the forecourt of the sanctuary. A Christ barefooted and dressed in a purple robe with a crown of thorns is whipped while carrying the cross to the crucifixion site near the water tank at the entrance of the village. The two thieves, Dismas and Gestas, walk with Him along the way. The stations of the cross are re-enacted, including the encounter with the Virgin Mary and Veronica, Christ’s three falls and Simon of Cyrene helping Jesus carry the cross. The procession lasts about an hour, culminating with Christ’s being tied to the cross to simulate the crucifixion. The two thieves are also tied to crosses. The three men remain on the crosses for about half an hour.
On Friday April 18, parades are held at various different places. At 11:30am the Santo Encuentro (Holy Encounter) takes place at the Parroquia and surrounding streets. The main attraction is an antique figure of Jesus, which includes a mechanism which allows the statue’s head to be raised, as if to look as his mother, represented by the statue of the Virgen de los Dolores.
At 5pm on Friday 28 is the longest and most solemn parade, The Holy Burial. It departs from the Oratorio. This parade simulates Christ’s burial, after being taken down from the cross. Very many people participate, dressed as Romans, angels and mourning men and women.
On Sunday the celebrations are ended. At noon, the traditional burning of a papier maché Judas takes places in the Jardin.