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The “Seven “Houses” Visits and Other Traditional Holy Week Events

By Jesús Aguado

On one day of Holy Week, Holy Thursday (this year on April 18), there are no processions on the streets. However, it is a custom for devotees to wander the streets visiting seven churches in the Historic Center from 7pm to midnight. On that day, these churches prepare altars representing different stations of Christ’s passion and crucifixion.

This tradition was created by the priest Father Luis Felipe Neri de Alfaro in 1750. The priest ordered that quarry crosses be placed in houses that at the time existed along the stops on a recreation of The Stations of the Cross—a traditional Catholic procession that highlights various moments in the biblical account of Christ being escorted to his execution. These days, the “houses” are churches around town.

Holy Week is also the only time when the Most Holy Name of Jesus (a sacred ornament) is displayed publicly (so that people can touch the divine on earth) on the altar prepared by each church. Normally it remains in the Sanctum.

Traditionalist Toño Rayas, who has participated in Holy Week processions for the last 16 years, told Atención that the visit to the Seven Houses (churches nowadays) represents that—“a visit” to the seven places where Jesus went soon before the Crucifixion:

First: Jesus visited the Garden of Olives.

Second: Jesus was taken to Annas’s house.

Third: Jesus was taken to Caiaphas’s house.

Fourth: Jesus was presented before Pontius Pilate.

Fifth: Jesus was taken before Herod.

Sixth: Christ was taken back to Pilate.

Seventh: Jesus was taken to the Crucifixion.


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