Holy Week in Mexico

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Palm Sunday procession of Trique people in Santo Domingo, Oaxaca Semana santa triqui en Santo Domingo del Estado.jpg
Palm Sunday procession of Trique people in Santo Domingo, Oaxaca

Holy Week in Mexico is an important religious observance as well as important vacation period. It is preceded by several observances such as Lent and Carnival, as well as an observance of a day dedicated to the Virgin of the Sorrows, as well as a mass marking the abandonment of Jesus by the disciples. Holy Week proper begins on Palm Sunday, with the palms used on this day often woven into intricate designs. In many places processions masses and other observances can happen all week, but are most common on Maundy Thursday , Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday, with just about every community marking the crucifixion of Jesus in some way on Good Friday. Holy Saturday is marked by the Burning of Judas, especially in the center and south of the country, with Easter Sunday usually marked by a mass as well as the ringing of church bells. Mexico’s Holy Week traditions are mostly based on those from Spain, brought over with the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire, but observances have developed variations in different parts of the country due to the evangelization process in the colonial period and indigenous influences. Several locations have notable observances related to Holy Week including Iztapalapa in Mexico City, Taxco, San Miguel de Allende and San Luis Potosí.

Lent Christian observance

Lent is a solemn religious observance in the Christian liturgical calendar that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends approximately six weeks later on Holy Saturday, the day before Easter Sunday. The purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer for Easter through prayer, doing penance, mortifying the flesh, repentance of sins, almsgiving, and denial of ego. This event is observed in the Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, Lutheran, Methodist, Moravian, Oriental Orthodox, Reformed, and Roman Catholic Churches. Some Anabaptist and evangelical churches also observe the Lenten season.

Carnival in Mexico is celebrated by about 225 communities in various ways, with the largest and best known modern celebrations occurring in Mazatlán and the city of Veracruz.

Our Lady of Sorrows title of Mary, mother of Jesus

Our Lady of Sorrows, Our Lady of Dolours, the Sorrowful Mother or Mother of Sorrows, and Our Lady of Piety, Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows or Our Lady of the Seven Dolours are names by which the Virgin Mary is referred to in relation to sorrows in her life. As Mater Dolorosa, it is also a key subject for Marian art in the Catholic Church.


Religious and cultural observance

Procession with crosses at the La Cuevita church in Iztapalapa La Cuevita de Iztapalapa en Semana Santa.jpg
Procession with crosses at the La Cuevita church in Iztapalapa
Palm Sunday observance at a school Palm Sunday celebration at a school in Mexico.jpg
Palm Sunday observance at a school

Holy Week is one of the most widely celebrated and important religious observances in Mexico. [1] [2] Almost 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. [2] [3] 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. [4] The U.S. traditions surrounding Easter have made very little inroads in Mexico, with icons such as the Easter Bunny and events such as Easter egg hunts limited to supermarkets and areas right along the border with the United States. [1] [2] Like most Mexican Catholic traditions, those related to Holy Week and Easter are based on the Spanish Catholic calendar. [5] Holy Week is preceded by Lent and Ash Wednesday, which itself is preceded by Carnival . [6] However, a number of traditions and customs have developed over the centuries. As most Holy Week related events occur outside and in large gatherings, “antojitos” (roughly translated as Mexican street food or snacks) is the most associated with the holiday. 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 are a popular street food at this time, especially traditional and regional ones made from coconut, tamarind and various fruits. Holy Week was also the traditional start of the ice cream and flavored ice season, which was originally made in Mexico City with ice and snow brought down from the Popocatepetl volcano. Ice cream fairs are still held at this time. Today’s frozen treats include ice cream in tubs, as well as popsicles made from both fruit and cream, as well as snow cones called “raspados.” Another popular refreshment is called “aguas frescas” or sugared drinks made from fruit or other natural flavorings such as tamarind or hibiscus flowers. The reason for the popularity of both frozen desserts and flavored drinks is that spring to early summer is generally the warmest part of the year in many parts of Mexico. [5]

Easter Bunny Folkloric figure and symbol of Easter

The Easter Bunny is a folkloric figure and symbol of Easter, depicted as a rabbit bringing Easter eggs. Originating among German Lutherans, the "Easter Hare" originally played the role of a judge, evaluating whether children were good or disobedient in behavior at the start of the season of Eastertide. The Easter Bunny is sometimes depicted with clothes. In legend, the creature carries colored eggs in his basket, candy, and sometimes also toys to the homes of children, and as such shows similarities to Santa Claus or the Christkind, as they both bring gifts to children on the night before their respective holidays. The custom was first mentioned in Georg Franck von Franckenau's De ovis paschalibus in 1682, referring to a German tradition of an Easter Hare bringing Easter eggs for the children.

Egg hunt A game that requires children to find hidden eggs, often played during Easter Sunday

An egg hunt is a game during which decorated eggs or Easter eggs are hidden for children to find. Real hard-boiled eggs, which are typically dyed or painted, artificial eggs made of plastic filled with chocolate or candies, or foil-wrapped egg-shaped chocolates of various sizes are hidden in various places. The game is often played outdoors, but can also be played indoors. The children typically collect the eggs in a basket. When the hunt is over, prizes may be given out for various achievements, such as the largest number of eggs collected, for the largest or smallest egg, for the most eggs of a specific color, consolation prizes or booby prizes. Real eggs may further be used in egg tapping contests. If eggs filled with confetti left from Mardi Gras (cascarones) are used, then an egg fight may follow. Eggs are placed with varying degree of concealment, to accommodate children of varying ages and development levels. In South German folk traditions it was customary to add extra obstacles to the game by placing them into hard-to reach places among nettles or thorns.

Ash Wednesday First day of Lent in the Western Christian calendar

Ash Wednesday is a Christian holy day of prayer and fasting. It is preceded by Shrove Tuesday and falls on the first day of Lent, the six weeks of penitence before Easter. Ash Wednesday is traditionally observed by Western Christians. Most Latin Rite Roman Catholics observe it, as do some Protestants like Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists, some Reformed churches, Baptists, Nazarenes and Independent Catholics.

Just before Holy Week proper, there are two events celebrated in various parts of the country. The first is the feast of the Virgin of Sorrows (Virgen de los Dolores). This occurs the Friday before Good Friday and focuses on the pain and sacrifice of Mary knowing that Jesus had to die to save mankind. This image of the Virgin is usually dressed in purple and altars are set up to her on this day. [5] [7] On the Wednesday before Easter, a mass called the “vespers of darkness” (los matines de la tinieblas) recalls the disciples’ abandonment of Jesus. The altar of the church will have a candelabra with fifteen candles, with one candle extinguished after the singing of a Psalm until only the center candle, representing Jesus, remains lit. [2]

Candelabra candle holder with multiple arms

A candelabrum, sometimes called a candle tree, is a candle holder with multiple arms. The word comes from Latin.

Psalms Book of the Bible

The Book of Psalms, commonly referred to simply as Psalms or "the Psalms", is the first book of the Ketuvim ("Writings"), the third section of the Hebrew Bible, and thus a book of the Christian Old Testament. The title is derived from the Greek translation, ψαλμοί, psalmoi, meaning "instrumental music" and, by extension, "the words accompanying the music". The book is an anthology of individual psalms, with 150 in the Jewish and Western Christian tradition and more in the Eastern Christian churches. Many are linked to the name of David, but his authorship is not accepted by modern scholars.

Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday, and many communities have special masses dedicated to the blessing of palm fronds. These fronds are often woven into crosses and other designs, sometimes quite intricate and brought by parishioners to have holy water sprinkled on them. Some fronds are later burned and the ashes saved for marking foreheads on the following Ash Wednesday. Maundy Thursday is the beginning of the celebration of Easter proper. Cathedrals in the country have special masses celebrated by bishops, with “chrism” a sacred oil used in the sacraments, is consecrated. Many churches also hold reenactments of the Last Supper, but Masses usually omit the exchanges of greeting of peace as a reminder of Judas’ betrayal of Jesus. From this day through Holy Saturday, church bells are traditionally not rung. [2] [8]

Chrism anointing oil

Chrism, also called myrrh, myron, holy anointing oil, and consecrated oil, is a consecrated oil used in the Anglican, Armenian, Assyrian, Catholic and Old Catholic, Eastern and Oriental Orthodox, Mormon churches and Nordic Lutheran Churches in the administration of certain sacraments and ecclesiastical functions.

Last Supper episode in the New Testament

The Last Supper is the final meal that, in the Gospel accounts, Jesus shared with his Apostles in Jerusalem before his crucifixion. The Last Supper is commemorated by Christians especially on Maundy Thursday. The Last Supper provides the scriptural basis for the Eucharist, also known as "Holy Communion" or "The Lord's Supper".

Reenactments of the day of crucifixion take place in almost all communities in Mexico on Good Friday and for a number these traditions extends to a passion play enacted most or all of Holy Week. The focus of these reenactments focus on the carrying of the cross by Jesus and his crucifixion as told by the Stations of the Cross. In major productions, hundreds of people participate including the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem, the Last Supper, the Betrayal, the Judgment, the procession with the cross, the Crucifixion up to the Resurrection . [2] [3] [5]

Stations of the Cross series of artistic representations, depicting Christ Carrying the Cross to his crucifixion

The Stations of the Cross or the Way of the Cross, also known as the Way of Sorrows or the Via Crucis, refers to a series of images depicting Jesus Christ on the day of his crucifixion and accompanying prayers. The stations grew out of imitations of Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem which is believed to be the actual path Jesus walked to Mount Calvary. The object of the stations is to help the Christian faithful to make a spiritual pilgrimage through contemplation of the Passion of Christ. It has become one of the most popular devotions and the stations can be found in many Western Christian churches, including Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, and Roman Catholic ones.

Crucifixion of Jesus Jesus crucifixion is described in the four canonical gospels

The crucifixion of Jesus occurred in 1st-century Judea, most likely between AD 30 and 33. Jesus' crucifixion is described in the four canonical gospels, referred to in the New Testament epistles, attested to by other ancient sources, and is established as a historical event confirmed by non-Christian sources, although there is no consensus among historians on the exact details.

Resurrection of Jesus Event in the Christian faith, Gospel episode represented in the cycle of the Passion of Christ

The resurrection of Jesus, or anastasis is the Christian belief that God raised Jesus after his crucifixion as first of the dead, starting His exalted life as Christ and Lord. In Christian theology, the death and resurrection of Jesus are the most important events, a foundation of the Christian faith, and commemorated by Easter. His resurrection is the guarantee that all the Christian dead will be resurrected at Christ's parousia.

Holy Saturday is dedicated to vigil as the waiting time between Jesus’ death and resurrection. Statues of the Virgin Mary are dressed in black as a symbol of mourning. [6] Frequently there is a solemn evening mass during which participants hold lighted candles. This is then followed by an event called the Burning of Judas mostly practiced in central and southern Mexico. [2] [6] Originally, it was the burning in effigy of the disciple that betrayed Jesus, a custom introduced to Mexico as part of the evangelization process. During the Mexican Inquisition, effigies were also burnt to mock and protest the burning of people at the stake. These effigies were banned but the idea of protest was transferred to the Judas figures. The Burning of Judas continues in other places but it has been banned in Mexico City because of safety and pollution concerns. The figures are still made in the city but many are now collector’s items. [9]

Effigy Hip hop/rap artists. Devang ubale also known as EIFFIGY is rapper,producer, song write.

An effigy is a representation of a specific person in the form of sculpture or some other three-dimensional medium. The use of the term is normally restricted to certain contexts in a somewhat arbitrary way: recumbent effigies on tombs are so called, but standing statues of individuals, or busts, are usually not. Likenesses of religious figures in sculpture are not normally called effigies. Effigies are common elements of funerary art, especially as a recumbent effigy in stone or metal placed on a tomb, or a less permanent "funeral effigy", placed on the coffin in a grand funeral, wearing real clothing.

Mexican Inquisition

The Mexican Inquisition was an extension of the Spanish Inquisition to New Spain. The Spanish Conquest of Mexico was not only a political event for the Spanish, but a religious event as well. In the early 16th century, the Reformation, the Counter-Reformation and the Inquisition were in full force in most of Europe. The Catholic Monarchs of Castile and Aragon had just re-conquered the last Muslim stronghold in the Iberian Peninsula, the kingdom of Granada, giving them special status within the Roman Catholic realm, including great liberties in the conversion of the native peoples of Mesoamerica. When the Inquisition was brought to the New World, it was employed for many of the same reasons and against the same social groups as suffered in Europe itself, minus the Indians to a large extent. Almost all of the events associated with the official establishment of the Holy Office of the Inquisition occurred in Mexico City, where the Holy Office had its own “palace”, which is now the Museum of Medicine of UNAM on Republica de Brasil street. The official period of the Inquisition lasted from 1571 to 1820, with an unknown number of victims.

Easter Sunday is celebrated with mass which is usually crowded. Church bells will again ring and the plazas around the churches after Mass will be crowded with churchgoers as well as street vendors selling food, toys, balloons and more. [2]

Regional variations in observance

Participant dressed as a Roman soldier for the Iztapalapa passion play Romano de Iztapalapa.jpg
Participant dressed as a Roman soldier for the Iztapalapa passion play
Statue of a Flagelante penitent in Taxco SculptureBernadinoTaxco3.JPG
Statue of a Flagelante penitent in Taxco
Amuzgo Good Friday procession in Xochistlahuaca. GFProcessionXochis07.JPG
Amuzgo Good Friday procession in Xochistlahuaca.

In many areas, processions, masses and other activities extend for another week. [10] Mexico’s Holy Week traditions are based on Spanish ones brought over during the Conquest, along with those created during the evangelization process with some indigenous influence. This has resulted in variations in the celebrations in various regions and towns. [2] [6] [10] A number of these variations have become well known, such as those in Taxco, San Luis Potosí, San Miguel de Allende, Ajijic, and Iztapalapa in Mexico City. Other communities with notable celebrations include Pátzcuaro, Tzintzuntzan, Querétaro, Huajicori, Mesa de Nayar, Creel, Cusarare (Chihuahua), San Ignacio Arareco (Chihuahua), Jerez, Atlixco, Temascalcingo, San Juan Chamula and Zinacantán. [2]

The most famous passion play in Mexico is held in Iztapalapa in the east of Mexico City. This production involves over 4000 local residents (all of which are born in Iztapalapa) which perform scenes related to the last week of Jesus’s life from Palm Sunday to Good Friday. The production has been done each year since 1843 and today the spectacle attracts over 2 million spectators, mostly Mexican. The play is not a strictly Biblical production as there are a number of characters such as a spy, a dog, a “wandering Jew” and others that are unique to this event. When Christ is captured, Aztec drums and flutes are played. Pontius Pilate sentences Jesus on the town of Iztapalapa’s main square then whipped. He then carries a cross from this square to the Cerro de la Estrella on a route over mile long through eight of the borough’s oldest neighborhoods. The most important event is the procession with the cross and the crucifixion scene portrayed on Cerro de la Estrella. Many others called “Nazarenes” follow, carrying their own crosses and wearing real crowns of thorns like Jesus. The play ends with Judas hanging himself after the crucifixion. [6]

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 traveling on a donkey from the town of Tehuilotepec about four miles to the center of Taxco. The image is preceded in its entrance to Taxco by children on bicycles and residents portraying the Twelve Apostles as well as drummer. Processions continue all week, led by very young children dressed as angels, immediately followed by older girls dressed in white with white veils, walking barefoot and swinging incense burners containing copal. In these processions, Biblical figures related to the Passion of Christ are represented by wooden statues from the town and surrounding villages, carried on litters, accompanied by musical instruments playing melodies with pre Hispanic influence. The most notable aspect of these processions are the penitents who inflict pain and suffering on themselves during the processions. While these displays have moderated or disappeared in other parts of Mexico, they remain severe in Taxco. Penitents form into three brotherhoods called the Animas or Bent Ones, the Encruzados (the Crossed) and the Flagelantes (Flagellants). All wear black robes, a horsehair belt and a hood to hide their identity. The Animas walk in procession bent at the waist, never straightening, carrying relics, crosses or candles. This is the only brotherhood that admits women, who are distinguished by lighter chains attached to their ankles. The Encruzados carry a bundle of thorned blackberry canes of up to 100 pounds tied onto their shirtless back and arms with a candle in each hand. The Flagelantes are also bare backed and carry a large wooden cross, in their arms, in their hands are a rosary and a whip with metal points. At appointed places, the penitent hands off the cross, kneels and whips his back. One Maundy Thursday, a scene recreating the Garden of Gethsemane is set up at the Santa Prisca church and on Friday, the statue of Jesus praying is “captured” and “jailed.” On Friday it is “crucified” inside the church with the penitent brotherhoods looking on. A candlelight vigil is on Holy Saturday ending late in the night with the announcement that Christ has risen. Easter Sunday is quiet. [8] [11]

San Miguel de Allende is noted for its observances of Holy Week, and for two weeks there is at least one procession per day. [10] The focus for much of the pageantry is the “El Señor de la Columna” Christ image, which is brought from the sanctuary of Atotonilco and paraded among the various churches of the area from the Sunday before Palm Sunday to the Wednesday after Easter when it returns to Atotonilco. On Good Friday, this image is carried to the parish church of San Miguel, accompanied by residents dressed as the disciples and Roman soldiers. At noon, images of the Holy Family, the disciples, Mary Magdalene and John the Baptist are also in procession and a passion play is performed. At dark, the images reappear in procession but dressed in black and accompanied by measured drumbeats. [10] [12] During this time, concheros dancers sporadically appear, especially in the main square of San Miguel. The Burning of Judas occurs on Easter Sunday, not Holy Saturday. [10]

A number of cities and towns hold Processions of Silence, where people march on the street holding candles in silence. The custom comes from the Spanish city of Seville . [6] The most important of these processions is held in the city of San Luis Potosí on Good Friday. It begins at 8pm at the Plaza del Carmen, with actors dressed as Roman troops playing drums and bugle. This guard then knocks on the door of the Carmen Church. The beginning of the procession leaves the church, carrying crosses and paschal candles. They are joined by more as they move onto the streets, dressed in white robes with cone shaped hoods with symbols denoting what religious group they belong to. In addition to the robed participants, there are also those dressed as charros, and Adelitas (women of the Mexican Revolution) as well as some in indigenous dress. The focal point of the procession is a large figure of the Virgin of Solitude, the Virgin Mary left alone after the death of Jesus. It and its platform weigh more than a ton and are carried on the shoulders of forty men. The procession continues around the town, punctuated by ritual speeches until midnight, when the last of the robed figures returns to the Carmen Church. [13]

In Tzintzuntzan for most of Holy Week, there are men on horseback, in red hoods and lavender robes that patrol the area to make sure that stores or craftsmen are doing business as usual. A central activity are processions with penitents led by seven large crosses which have been in the care of seven family for generations. These crosses are then at the front of the parish church on Good Friday as a passion play is performed. Local legend says that as recently as the 1970s, in a nearby village, penitents still had themselves nailed to crosses. [14]

A major pilgrimage site for Holy Week is Chalma, the second most visited pilgrimage site in Mexico after the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The focus of the pilgrimage is an image of a black crucified Christ and the rites here are a mix of Christian and pre Hispanic influences, such as bathers dipping into a fresh water spring for purification. Dance is a central part of the rites, and an Aztec tradition states that newcomers are obliged to dance for at least one tune. [15]

Other important events for Holy Week include a procession behind a black faced Christ figure in Patzcuaro, the veneration of a purple-robed paper mache image of Christ at the San Francisco Church in the historic center of Mexico City and that of the Tarahumara in Chihuahua, who paint themselves white for ritual. [6] [11]

The vacation period

In addition to its importance religiously, it has also become a very important vacation period. Many companies shut down in order to provide time off especially between Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, with some having the following week off as well. [1] [2] [3] Schoolchildren up to high school generally get two weeks off but university students get only one week. [6] The only class of workers working in full that week are those in the tourism industry. [2] While the original reason for the time off was for religious observance, many skip this aspect at least for part of the time to go on vacation. [5]

Hotels, restaurants and more are crowded, especially at major resorts and other tourist destinations. Airline and other transport prices tend to be higher with terminals crowded at the very beginning and end of the vacation period. Highways will also be heavily used. [2] In 2010 over nine million Mexicans traveled somewhere for the holiday with an economic impact of over ten billion pesos. [16] In 2011 the Mexico City eastern bus terminal, TAPO, served 180,000 people per day during Holy Week, about double its normal volume. [17] However, major metropolitan areas such as Mexico City, Monterrey and Guadalajara tend to be quieter than normal during this week, as many workers in these cities leave for vacation and/or to visit family in the provinces. [2]

The most important vacation spots at this time are beach areas such as Acapulco, Cancún, Puerto Vallarta, Veracruz, Mazatlan, Los Cabos and Huatulco. These vacations are generally taken together as families. [16] [18] Beach towns and other resorts fill with vacationers as well as street vendors and wandering musicians taking advantage of the business opportunity. [18] Occupancy rates climb to over 85% and 100% occupancy is not uncommon, leading to rooms rented in private homes. Those who cannot find accommodations often sleep in their vehicles or even on the beach. [18] [19] Other vacation destination include colonial cities in the center such as Morelia, Guanajuato, Querétaro, San Miguel de Allende, Taxco, San Luis Potosí and Zacatecas receive significant numbers of visitors as well. [16]

Many also cross the border into the United States during this week, especially those who live in the north and/or who have family there to visit. It is also popular to go shopping in the country at this time, making it an important time for some US retailers, especially those near the Mexican border. [20]

Related Research Articles

Holy Week calendar date

Holy Week in Christianity is the week just before Easter. It is also the last week of Lent, in the West, – Palm Sunday, Holy Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday – are all included. However, Easter Day, which begins the season of Eastertide, is not. However, traditions observing the Easter Triduum may overlap or displace part of Holy Week or Easter itself within that additional liturgical period.

Taxco City in Guerrero, Mexico

Taxco de Alarcón is a small city and administrative center of a Taxco de Alarcón Municipality located in the Mexican state of Guerrero. Taxco is located in the north-central part of the state, 36 kilometres from the city of Iguala, 135 kilometres from the state capital of Chilpancingo and 170 kilometres southwest of Mexico City.

Holy Week procession

A Holy Week procession is a public ritual march of clergy and penitents which takes place during Holy Week in countries which have a Roman Catholic culture. Various images of the saints, especially the Virgin Mary, and most importantly the image of the crucified Christ are carried aloft by foot as a penance; acts of mortification are carried out; traditional hymns and chants are sung. In many penitential orders, the faces of the penitents are covered by elaborate hoods, such as the capirote, as a way of hiding one's identity in order to not ostentatiously draw attention to oneself while performing penance. Crosses, and biers holding Catholic holy images surrounded with flowers and offerings of candles, are carried usually from one parish church to another led by the clergy, monastic orders, or heads of the penitential orders.

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Holy Week in Zamora

Holy Week in Zamora, Spain, is the annual commemoration of the Passion of Jesus Christ that takes place during the last week of Lent, the week immediately before Easter. Holy Week is the Christian week from Palm Sunday through Easter Sunday. It can take place in March or April. In Zamora, Holy Week is celebrated by 16 Catholic religious brotherhoods and fraternities that perform penance processions on the streets of the city.

Holy Week in Seville

Holy Week in Seville is known as Semana Santa de Sevilla. It is one of the city’s two biggest annual festivals, the other being the Feria de Abril, which follows two weeks later. It is celebrated in the week leading up to Easter, and features the procession of pasos, floats of lifelike wooden sculptures of individual scenes of sorrowfull Mysteries of the Rosary, or images of the grieving Virgin Mary.

Holy Week in Spain

Holy Week in Spain is the annual tribute of the Passion of Jesus Christ celebrated by Catholic religious brotherhoods and fraternities that perform penance processions on the streets of almost every Spanish city and town during the last week of Lent, the week immediately before Easter.

Holy Week in the Philippines is a significant religious observance for the country’s Roman Catholic majority, the Iglesia Filipina Independiente or the Philippine Independent Church and most Protestant groups. One of the few majority Christian countries in Asia, Catholics make up 80 percent of the population, and the Church is one of the country's dominant sociopolitical forces.

Holy Week in Viveiro

Holy Week in Viveiro is one of the most important traditional events of Viveiro, Spain. It is celebrated in the week leading up to Easter, and is one of the best known religious events within Galicia. As a reflection of its importance, is also considered as a Fiesta of International Tourist Interest of Spain since 2013.

Holy Week in Popayán

The Holy Week in Popayán, Cauca (Colombia), is the celebration of the Passion and death of Jesus Christ through daily processions continuously performed since the sixteenth century between Good Friday nights and Holy Saturday. This parade takes place in the ancient streets of the "White City". Religious images of Spanish, Andalusian, Quito, Italian and Payanes arranged on a wooden platform with 4 front and 4 back "barrotes" (bars) are carried in the shoulders of the "Cargueros". These images are representations of different episodes recounted in the Gospels on the Passion, Crucifixion and Death of Jesus Christ. Each performance is a "paso" (step). The steps are taken through the streets, a distance of a cross-shaped layout since the time of the Conquest, passing by the main churches and temples of the city.

The Holy Week in Braga is the most imposing, attractive and famous among all in Portugal, and the most important tourist and religious event in the city of Braga. It is estimated that about 100.000 people attend the major processions. It combines harmoniously elements of the liturgy and of popular piety, ancient traditions and innovation. Since November 2011, this event is officially “Declared of Interest to Tourism”.

<i>Passion Play of Iztapalapa</i> Annual tribute of the Passion of Jesus Christ in Iztapalapa, Mexico City

Passion Play of Iztapalapa is an annual event during Holy Week in the Iztapalapa borough of Mexico City. It one of the oldest and most elaborate passion plays in Mexico as well as the best known, covered media both in Mexico and abroad. Unlike others in Latin America, its origins are not in the colonial period but rather a cholera epidemic in the 19th century, which gave rise to a procession to petition relief. Over time, the procession included a passion play which grew over time to include various scenes related to Holy Week. Today, the play includes not only hundreds of actors, but also thousands of men called “Nazarenes” who carry their own crosses to follow the actor chosen to play Jesus to the site where the crucifixion is reenacted. While the event is still primarily religious, it has also become a rite of identity for Iztapalapa as well as a major tourism attraction for both the borough and the city.

Friday of Sorrows

The Friday of Sorrows is a solemn pious remembrance of the sorrowful Blessed Virgin Mary on the Friday before Palm Sunday held in the fifth week of Lent. In the Anglican-Catholic Divine Worship: The Missal it is called Saint Mary in Passiontide and sometimes it is traditionally known as Our Lady in Passiontide.

Holy Week in Salamanca religious festival in the city of Salamanca  (Castile and León, Spain)

Holy Week in Salamanca is the most important religious event of Salamanca, Spain. It is celebrated in the week leading up to Easter.

Illustrious Brotherhood of the Holy Cross of the Redeemer and the Immaculate Conception, his Mother (Salamanca)

The Illustrious Brotherhood of the Holy Cross of the Redeemer and the Immaculate Conception, his Mother, known as the Vera Cruz or True Cross is a Catholic fraternity established in Salamanca, Castile and León, Spain in 1506.

Penitente Hermandad de Jesus Yacente

The Penitente Hermandad de Jesús Yacente is a brotherhood in Zamora, Spain, important in its Holy Week; they parade solemnly on the night of Holy Thursday.

Holy Week in Valladolid

The Holy Week in Valladolid is one of the main tourist attractions, and cultural and religious events of Valladolid and the surrounding province during Holy Week in Spain. It boasts of renowned polychrome sculptures, created mainly by sculptors such as Juan de Juni and Gregorio Fernández, who were active when the city served as the imperial court. The city's National Sculpture Museum has a total of 42 images for the processions. The Holy Week in Valladolid is known to depict the Passion with great fidelity, rigor and detail.

Procession of Silence in San Luis Potosi

The Procession of Silence in San Luis Potosi is an annual event to mourn the Passion of Christ and honor Our Lady of Solitude. It occurs on the night of Good Friday, beginning at the El Carmen Church, where it originated, and winds through the streets of the historic center of the city of San Luis Potosí. During the event there are the sounds of drums and bugles, but no participant or spectator speaks, giving the event its name. It is one of the most important Holy Week observances in Mexico and was declared part of the cultural heritage of the state of San Luis Potosí in 2013.

Holy Week in Taxco

In Taxco, the processions and ceremonies of Holy Week are elaborate and have gained international fame. Between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday, there are ten major processions, six during the evening and four during the day. Most processions are about two and a half kilometers long and take about two hours to complete. These commemorations date back to at least 1622 when they were begun in the atrium of the Church of the Ex monastery of San Bernardino de Siena. Now these processions and ceremonies center of the Santa Prisca Church.

Holy Week in Málaga

Holy Week in Malaga, is the annual commemoration of the Passion of Jesus Christ that takes place during the last week of Lent, the week immediately before Easter. It is one of the main cultural events, religious and tourist attraction of Málaga.


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