» Easter and Good Friday in Mexico
Easter and Good Friday in Mexico
Easter, or “Pascua”, as it is called in Mexico, is one of the most widely celebrated and important religious holidays of the year. On these days, Christians around the world celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ after crucifixion. Though major Easter customs and traditions remain the same throughout the world, there are variations of celebrations in each country and local tradition. Mexico too has its unique way of celebrating this festival. Easter and Good Friday in Mexico is celebrated through a combination of Semana Santa(Holy Week – Palm Sunday or Domingo de Ramos to Easter Saturday) and Pascua (Resurrection Sunday until the following Saturday. The Easter season begins on Miércoles de Ceniza (Ash Wednesday) and continues through Cuaresma (Lent), the 40-day period until Semana Santa (Holy Week).
The Holy Week in Mexico
Holy Week is one of the most widely celebrated and important religious observances in Mexico. During Easter and Good Friday in Mexico, all towns and cities in the country have some kind of public observance during a two-week period that starts from Palm Sunday at least to Easter Sunday and can extend into the week after.
Easter Traditions and Customs in Mexico
- Palm Sunday -Domingo de Ramos: On the Sunday prior to Easter, known as Palm Sunday, the arrival of Jesus in Jerusalem is commemorated.
- Maundy Thursday - Jueves Santo: The Thursday of Holy Week is known as Maundy Thursday or Holy Thursday. This day commemorates the washing of the feet of the apostles, the Last Supper and Jesus' arrest in Gethsemane
- Good Friday - Viernes Santo: Good Friday recalls the crucifixion of Christ
- Holy Saturday - Sabado de Gloria: In some places there is a custom of burning Judas in effigy because of his betrayal of Jesus, now this has become a festive occasion.
- Easter Sunday - Domingo de Pascua: Easter Sunday is celebrated with mass which is usually crowded with churchgoers as well as street vendors selling food, toys, balloons and more.
Popular Easter Food in Mexico
- Mexico has a variety of traditional Easter customs, many of them have been derived from Spain.
- Tarahumara Indians, in the mountains of Chihuahua, paint themselves white during Holy Week.
- In some cities, there is a Procesión de Silencio, a silent procession, wherein the people march down the street by candlelight, in silence.
- Another tradition still popular in Southern Mexico is the "burning of Judas," in which effigies of Judas (cardboard or paper Mache figures with firecrackers inside) are burnt. The Judas effigy is often in the form of a contemporary person, frequently an unpopular politician.
- The most famous passion play is in the Mexico City borough of Ixtapalapa. This Passion Play is carried out annually by the locals. The actor wears an actual crown of thorns, is flogged, and bears a 200 pound cross through the streets, before being “crucified”
- Another important and unique commemoration of Holy Week occurs in Taxco in the state of Guerrero. It begins on Palm Sunday, with a large wooden statue of Christ travelling on a donkey from the town of Tehuilotepec about four miles to the center of Taxco.
Prior to Easter Sunday, Lenten dietary rules are still in effect for the observant, so popular street foods include pambazos with cheese, fried fish, fried plantains, hot cakes/pancakes with various toppings, candies made from coconut and tamarind, ice-creams and popular refreshment drinks called agues frescas made from tamarind or hibiscus flowers.
- Mexican television features movies, documentaries and other shows focused on the religious event and other topics related to the Catholic faith, especially in Latin America
- In Mexico, elementary schools, middle schools and high school students have a two-week vacation, the weeks preceding and following Easter Sunday.
- Most businesses are closed on Thursday (Maundy Thursday) afternoon and the entire day on Good Friday except grocery stores, department stores, restaurants and night clubs.
Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion in Mexico, so Good Friday is part of the Holy Week (Semana Santa) events across the country and within the church. It signifies the crucifixion of Christ.
Activities of Holy Friday in Mexico
Public Life on Good Friday
- On this day there are solemn religious processions in which statues of Christ and the Virgin Mary are carried through town. Often the participants of these processions dress in costumes to evoke the time of Jesus.
- Passion plays, dramatic recreations of the crucifixion of Christ, are presented in many communities. The largest takes place in Iztapalapa, south of Mexico City, where over a million people gather every year for the Via Crucis.
- The Good Friday parade is a sombre, silent procession, except for the sounds of drums, the rattler and of crosses being dragged across the cobblestones. It's a highlight of the annual Saints Week celebrations in Oaxaca city.
- Good Friday is a solemn day when churches are often draped in dark colours.
Most banks and schools are closed in Mexico on Good Friday. Traffic and public transport may be stalled in streets where there are Good Friday processions in Mexico. Many people travel on vacation during the Holy Week long weekend so tourist destinations, particularly along the coast of Mexico, can be quite busy.
Thus on a concluding note, Easter and Good Friday in Mexico is celebrated with a lot of pomp and zest, and the city of Mexico lures millions of tourists all over the world during this time.
Easter and Good Friday in Rome
The two weeks surrounding Easter and Good Friday in Rome, are one of the busiest times of the year. For pilgrim and secular tourists alike, the Triduum (Latin for "three day period") that extends from Holy Thursday evening to Easter Sunday is an opportune time to see the Church in action and, in particular, the pope, who follows an astoundingly heavy schedule.
Activities during Triduum
Celebration OF Easter in Mexico
- Holy Thursday: The main events begin with the blessing of the holy oils in Saint Peter's Basilica in the morning during a special Mass presided over by the pope;
- Good Friday: Good Friday in the Christian faith is remembered as the day on which Christ was crucified. It is the most solemn day of the Christian calendar.
- Saturday: Mass is celebrated in the late evening on the day before Easter Sunday. The pope usually celebrates this in Saint Peter's as well. During this service adult converts to Catholicism are officially received into the Church.
- Easter Sunday: Mass is celebrated in the morning in Saint Peter's Square, and hence it can have a stadium feeling. Afterward the pope delivers the blessing known as the "Urbi et Orbi" ("to the City and to the World") from the balcony on the facade of Saint Peter's.
- Easter and Good Friday in Rome has its share of rituals and traditions. The Monday following Easter, la Pasquetta is also a holiday throughout Italy. While the days before Easter in Italy include solemn processions and masses, Easter is a joyous celebration.
- In Florence, Easter is celebrated with the ScoppiodelCarro, explosion of the cart. A huge, decorated wagon is dragged through Florence by white oxen until it reaches Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence's historic center. Following mass, the Archbishop sends a dove-shaped rocket into the cart, igniting the fireworks held in the cart. This spectacular display is followed by a parade in medieval costumes.
- On Easter Sunday, people dress in green and white, colours of peace, hope, and resurrection, and gather in the main piazza. The woman playing the Virgen Mary is dressed in black. As she moves to the fountain, doves are released and the woman is suddenly dressed in green. Music and feasting follow.
- Solemn religious processions are held in many towns on the Friday or Saturday before Easter and sometimes on Easter Sunday. Many churches have special statues of the Virgin and Jesus that play a big part in the processions. The statues may be paraded through the city or displayed in the main square.
- Parade participants are often dressed in traditional ancient costumes. Olive branches are often used instead of or along with palm fronds in the processions and to decorate churches.
Since Easter is the end of the Lent season, food plays a big part in the celebrations. Traditional Easter foods in many places include lamb or goat, artichokes, and special Easter breads that vary from region to region. Pannetone and Colomba (dove shaped) breads are often given as gifts as are hollow chocolate eggs that usually come with a surprise inside.
Good Friday is the Friday immediately before Easter Sunday. In accordance with ancient custom, no Mass should be celebrated on this day, a sign of mourning over Christ's death. Still, a service is held in Saint Peter's in the afternoon, during which Saint John's account of Christ's suffering and death is sung, and the cross is kissed by all present before they receive communion. In the evening the pope leads the Stations of the Cross, a procession that commemorates the fourteen stages of Christ's passion, at the Colosseum.
Activities on Good Friday
- All statues and crosses in churches are covered in purple or black cloth, and remain so until Easter Sunday. Priests' vestments for any Good Friday liturgy is also coloured purple, except for the Bishops and the Pope who wear red.
- Roman Catholic Easter tradition says that holy mass must not be celebrated on Good Friday, which is a day of mourning. Nevertheless at 5 p.m. in St Peter's Basilica, the Pope celebrates the Good Friday liturgy of the Lord's passion.
- By far the biggest event of the Friday before Easter is the famous 'Via Crucis' or 'Way of the Cross', also known as the 'Stations of the Cross', when the Pope leads a solemn torchlight procession from the Colosseum to the Palatine Hill.
- Enna, in Sicily, has a large procession on Good Friday, with more than 2,000 friars dressed in ancient costumes walking through the streets of the city.
- Trapani, also in Sicily, is a good place to see processions, held several days during Holy Week. Their Good Friday procession, Misteri di
Trapani, is 24 hours long. These processions are very dramatic.
- What's believed to be the oldest Good Friday procession in Italy is in Chieti in the Abruzzo region .The procession with Selecchi's Miserere played by 100 violins is very moving.
- Beautiful torch light processions are held in Umbria in hill towns such as Orvieto and Assisi.
- While Easter mass is held in every church in Italy, the biggest and most popular mass is held by the Pope at Saint Peter's Basilica.
The celebrations of Easter and Good Friday in Rome attract tens of thousands of pilgrims to see the city come alive with what amounts to be the most important event in the Catholic calendar.