Semana Santa, or Holy Week, is not to be missed if you are in town. Some events occur the week before Palm Sunday so check out the full schedule in the Friday Atencion. The crowds in town can be quite large, so be prepared. Sometimes it is best to find restaurants and accommodations outside of Centro. Highlights include:
Two Sundays before Easter Sunday, there is one of the most festive processions of the season. Senor de la Columna, or Jesus on the Column, is a statue that is normally found in Atotonilco. But on this Sunday the statue is carried all night from its permanent site arriving at the top of Avenida Independencia around 7 am. As fireworks explode overhead, the statue is carried, flanked by Roman soldiers and followed by the pilgrims who have walked all night. All proceed down Independencia walking over beautiful sawdust alfombras, or carpets, that have been made by the residents or over chamomile flowers that have been thrown in the street; the smell is amazing and it is very festive. The procession ends at San Juan de Dios church. Don’t miss this if you are in town.
The Friday night before Palm Sunday is one of my favorite nights in town. The Virgin of Dolores, or Our Lady of Sorrows, is celebrated with decorating all of the fountains in town and making home altars. You see these particularly in the older Mexican sections. You can enter the homes to see the altars which have the Virgin at the foot of Jesus on the cross. They use candles, wheat grass and oranges on the altars. Many are really over the top, while many are really very simple. There are many families with children walking from home to home, gathering in the homes with their friends, enjoying the paletas (ice cream bars) and sweets handed out at each location. It is festive, peaceful and a really wonderful experience.
Everyone should experience Semana Santa, or Holy Week, in a place like San Miguel. Beginning with several processions on Palm Sunday, there are processions most days throughout the week. On Thursday everyone is out again visiting the traditional seven churches at night. There are also several Last Supper recreations. The week culminates with the trial of Christ in front of the Parroquia and the Funeral Procession late in the afternoon from the Oratorio. It is very formal and very somber and should be experienced once. Saturday brings the Procession of the Virgin of Solitude, where women carry the statue from the Oratorio. On Easter Sunday the big event is the blowing up of the Judases, in the Jardin at noon, when life size paper mache effigies of Judas are filled with fireworks and blown up in front of a large crowd.
The Virgin of Solitude