Two Processions on Palm Sunday
By Jesús Aguado
Two very singular processions take place on Palm Sunday through the streets of the historic center (March 29.)
These religious events are a review the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem, riding a white donkey, almost 2000 years ago. As God’s son, he could have chosen any other beast to ride. There, among laurels, palms, and fabrics, he was greeted, and he healed people whom he met on his path of their diseases.
The first procession is a living representation organized by the church of San Francisco. At 9:45am, on the upper part of calle San Francisco, people start gathering, and at 10am the procession leaves, walking towards the San Francisco church.
This tradition started 21 years ago, and since then it has been headed by three acolytes, surrounded by incense and chants, who are followed by Carlos Ruiz portraying a living image of Jesus Christ. He rides a white donkey. Ruiz is followed by 12 men representing the 12 apostles, and finally a group of people wearing clothes from that era follow. The religious procession ends up at the church of San Francisco and is followed with a mass.
While the mass takes place at San Francisco, a second procession starts near Parque Juárez on calle Sollano. Since the previous day, neighbors have been adorning the streets with palms and colored paper flowers. On Sunday they spread chamomile flowers on the ground. The procession departs at approximately 10:30am from Parque Juárez, and it is led by the parish priest. Devotees carry a sculpture of Jesus Christ riding a donkey and stroll through Sollano to end up at the parroquia of St. Michael the Archangel for mass.
It is common to find people selling intricately woven palms outside the churches in commemoration of Palm Sunday.