Undoubtedly Easter is the most crucial celebration of the Christian world. The resurrection of Jesus Christ marks the beginning of the Christian fate and is celebrated widely.
Easter happens in Springtime, the time of the year when everything awakens from the long winter slumber, flowers bloom, filling with vibrant colors our scenery. Often the Easter celebration is a time when people like to travel. The well-deserved Easter holiday is marked on the calendar of many.
Celebrating Easter in Mexico
You will not find Mexican children eating chocolate bunnies or hunting for eggs in Easter week like in the United States. On the other hand, in Mexico, the Easter celebrations are full of Catholic rituals and symbolism carried over centuries. Catholicism arrived with the Spanish conquistadors in 1531, and it is until today a significant part of the Mexican identity, with about 100 million Mexicans identifying themselves as Catholics. Therefore, if you are traveling to Mexico during this time, you are in for a culturally fascinating experience.
Mexicans celebrate Easter in a two-week period, where the first week is called Semana Santa (Holy Week) and the second one is Semana de Pascua (Easter Week).
In Mexico, the Holy Week takes off the Friday before Palm Sunday. This day is known as Viernes de Dolores (Friday of Sorrows), where the pain experienced by the Virgin Mary cause the loss of her son is remember.
Palm Sunday, also known as Domingo de Ramos, marks the official beginning of the Semana Santa in Mexico. This Sunday commemorates when Jesus Christ victoriously entered Jerusalem riding a donkey. His followers lay palms on the way, representing peace and victory and recognizing Jesus Christ as their Messiah.
On Palm Sunday In Mexico, you will find vendors offering intricate, beautiful palms weaved in various designs outside churches. Also, depending on the city, processions are organized this day. Later on, the devotees gather for mass where the priest will bless the palms, the ones that decorate the church will be used for the Ash Wednesday ritual the following year.
Holy Thursday or Jueves Santo is when Mexican Catholics remember Jesus and His disciples’ last supper. Plus, on this Thursday night, traditionally, people visit seven churches. The idea of this rite is to offer the congregation time to reflect and meditated about Jesus’s life.
This day is one of the most crucial celebrations of Semana Santa. On Viernes Santo, no mass is officiated. All sculptures and the cross inside the church are covered with purple mantles. Customarily, the Catholic church dictates their congregation not to consume meat and fast on this day.
It is popular that on Good Friday, actors portrait the Viacrucis( The Road of the Cross), a Latin word that refers to the journey Jesus experience from the moment He is sentenced to death to the time He dies on the cross. This procession happens all over the country. However, the one in San Luis Potosi is peculiar because none all the participants speak. Therefore it is called Procession of Silence. The Procesion del Silencio was declared cultural heritage in 2013.
This mourning day, also called Sabado de Gloria, is a time to reflect on the pain Christ endured due to His sacrifice for humanity and the hope of His resurrection.
One controversial Mexican tradition of this day is that people throw buckets of water at each other. Because water is a precious resource not to be waste, this tradition had been stopped, and fines can be given to people practicing this.
Surprisingly, this tradition of throwing water originated in the Middle Ages when parishioners will not shower during the Holy Week because it was considered a sin. In contrast, on Holy Saturday, they will throw water to each other as a symbol of purifying their souls and washing away their sins.
For Catholics, salvation arrives on Domingo de Pascua when Jesus of Nazareth conquers death. Many attend the Easter mass, and church bells ring. In some parts of Mexico, effigies of Judas are made out of paper and then burn. After the celebration at the church, family and friends will gather in plazas to celebrate.
Easter Sunday marks the beginning of the Semana de Pascua, a time most Mexican families use for traveling. Either they take holidays for one or two weeks. Beaches such as Puerto Vallarta are some of the most popular destinations among nationals. The Easter Holidays here in Puerto Vallarta marks the end of the high season for some.
Let’s not forget that, like other Mexican traditions, Semana Santa and Semana de Pascua are also the time to savor delicious traditional dishes. In many places, you will find romeritos (tender sprigs in mole sauce), tortas de camaron (dried shrimp cakes), bacalao a la Vizcaina (Codfish in tangy tomato sauce), chiles Rellenos, capirotada (French Toast with the Mexican twist). There are so many more apetizing dishes that you must try this Easter holiday in Mexico.