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The 12-Kilometer Journey of the Bloody Christ

By Jesús Aguado

The Lord of the Column arrives at San Juan de Dios Church the morning of Sunday, April 2. The tradition dates from 1823 when, according to the chronicles, a plague infested the Village of San Miguel el Grande and the Christ was brought out in hope of a miracle.

The sculpture of the Christ (which remains in Atotonilco the rest of the year) weighs 40 kilos and has a height of 1.80 meters. The sculpture is flagellated and blood covers its body. The image also has a scar representing Judas’s kiss, and some of his ribs are exposed. He rests his arms on a column. His name comes from this.

Annually since 1823, the Christ, along with a sculpture of a Sorrowful Virgin and the apostle San Juan (St. John) is covered in hundreds of silk clothes. At midnight it is carried in procession from Atotonilco to the temple (church) of San Juan de Dios.

At 3am, the pilgrims stop at a place known as La Cruz del Perdón and there a mass is held. After the ceremony, the procession continues its 12-kilometer journey to the city.

At midnight, parallel to the procession, the residents of Avenida Independencia start decorating the street with colorful “roughs” made of sawdust and spread some fresh chamomile; from the houses they hang purple balloons and colored cut paper, because this is the entrance that leads straight to the church once in the urban area.

The pilgrimage arrives at 6am at Avenida Independencia, and there the sculptures are uncovered among praises, chants, rockets, and prayers. After a religious ceremony, the procession continues straight to the church of San Juan de Dios and ends with a mass.

Thousands of people gather on the streets to see the arrival of the images.


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