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The Guide to Semana Santa, Learning to Navigate the Events of Holy Week

By Wolf Sittle

Join Charlotte Bell, author of Tears from the Crown of Thorns, for her annual lecture on Semana Santa (Holy Week). This unique time is filled with extraordinary happenings and sites. There are nine major events and many more minor ones. With so many options, it is difficult to know where to start. Most of the events are ancient and have special significance. But without information they are just strange occurrences. “The Guide to Semana Santa” is a lecture and slide show. Included with the ticket is a booklet with the times, locations, and maps of the major events.

The Guide to Semana Santa: Learning to Navigate the Events of Holy Week
By Charlotte Bell
Fri, Mar 18, 4pm
El Sindicato
Recreo 4
100 pesos

Charlotte spent years taking photographs and collecting information for her book. Much of the lore came from interviews with local residents who have participated in the processions and other events all their lives. You will learn about San Miguel’s very own maker of religious images, the late Genaro Almanza. In the 1800s San Miguel was known as the “cradle” of saint makers because of its school for santeros. You will find out what happened to the school and the struggle that ensued. She will tell you about the storeroom of angels for the Procession of Santo Entierro (Holy Burial) on Good Friday. You will see behind the scenes as local residents prepare for the processions and decorate the churches. You will learn about Padre Felipe Neri de Alfaro, 1709–1776, creator of Atotonilco, who would walk barefoot seven miles into San Miguel carrying a heavy cross. Various religious statues have an ancient history, such as the figure of Ecce Homo, which is over 300 years old. You will learn that he is known as the rainmaker as he travels from church to church for nine months of the year to bring on the rains. The knowledge you will gain will increase your understanding and appreciation of Holy Week in San Miguel.

From Charlotte’s extensive research, she has created a guide to the events of Semana Santa. You will leave her talk with timetables and maps on the “what,” “where,” and “when” so you can get the most out of this special time in San Miguel. She’ll show you the best place to stand for processions and give you hints on how to deal with the sun. She’ll assist photographers to find the ultimate spots for taking great photographs and explain procession etiquette.

Get the facts so you can get the most out of this extraordinary time in San Miguel. Included in her talk will be a slide show featuring photos from her book. She will also be signing and selling copies of Tears from the Crown of Thorns.

Join Charlotte at the El Sindicato on Recreo 4, Friday, March 18, at 4pm. Cost for lecture and booklet: 100 pesos.


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