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Stations of the Cross Publicly Recreated Around City During Holy Week



By Jesús Aguado

The last hours of Christ’s life are enacted during Holy Week in the Via Crucis (Stations of the Cross) in various places in San Miguel de Allende that anyone wanting a taste of the city’s traditions can view.

In the town of Atotonilco, the Via Crucis on Good Friday has become a tradition so elaborate that actually begins the day before. The reenactment starts at 8pm on Holy Thursday, April 18, with a mass. An actor portraying Jesus reenacts the moment when he washed the Apostles’ feet and, later, actors portray the Last Supper in front of the Atotonilco sanctuary. Afterward, Christ goes to a public garden in the community to pray and Roman soldiers arrest him after Judas Iscariot’s betrayal.

On Good Friday, April 19, at around 1pm (it is advisable to arrive earlier), the reenactment of the Passion continues with Jesus’s trial before Pontius Pilate in the front courtyard of the sanctuary. Roman soldiers flog the actor, who has his clothes on, as many times as he can stand. A few minutes later, they take off Christ’s clothes, and the flogging continues. The bloodied Christ is taken down from the stage and publicly mocked as a “king.” A crown of thorns is placed on his head, and he is given a stick to be used as a scepter. Finally, Christ is made to take up the Cross, and the Via Crucis begins.

The reenactment of the march to Calvary is held in the community’s main streets. Thirteen of the 14 stations are marked by altars, and at every station, Father Fernando Manríquez, Atontonilco’s parish priest, prays. The reenactment ends with a staged crucifixion of Christ, who is tied to a cross between the two thieves. The actors stay on the crosses for half an hour.

At 4pm, a Holy Burial is portrayed in the main streets of the neighborhood.

Other neighborhoods such as fraccionamiento Insurgentes and colonia San Luis Rey put on their own reenactments of the Via Crucis, as does Soria, a community located between San Miguel and Comonfort.


The 14 Stations of the Cross

1. Christ is condemned to death

2. Christ carries the cross

3. The first time Christ stumbles and falls

4. The encounter with his mother on the way to Calvary

5. Simon of Cyrene helps Christ carry the cross

6. St Veronica wipes Christ’s face with a handkerchief

7. Christ stumbles a second time

8. Encounter with the women of Jerusalem

9. Christ stumbles a third time

10. He is stripped of his garments

11. The Crucifixion

12. Christ dies on the cross

13. His body is taken down from the cross

14. Christ’s body is laid in his tomb



Public transportation to Atotonilco leaves every hour from Calzada de la Luz. The fare is 15 pesos. Buses from Atotonilco to San Miguel leave every hour from a block away from the Santuario.

Visitors can also take a Flecha Amarilla bus from the bus station for 10 pesos. They must get off the bus at El Cortijo, cross the road, and walk for about 10 minutes to get to the sanctuary. A cab does not charge more than 100 pesos from the Historic Center to Atotonilco, but we advise settling on the price with the driver beforehand.


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