Festivities for Holy Week 2012

March 12, 2012

Filed under: San Miguel Cultural Events — Annie @ 1:05 pm

Here is the schedule for this year’s festivities:

Sunday, March 25, 2012:  Holy Week (Semana Santa) festivities begin in San Miguel with one of the most traditional religious processions in town, the arrival of Nuestro Senor de la Columna, borne on foot overnight from the Shrine of Atotonilco (15 miles north of San Miguel) to a temporary place of honor in the San Juan de Dios church.  This year, early on the morning of Sunday, March 25, hundreds of believers will await the procession as it wends it way down Avenida Independencia and into town, heralded by rockets and fireworks, along streets bedecked with purple and white decorations and “carpets” of fragrant flowers.

Friday, March 30, 2012: Residents of selected homes erect altars strewn with fragrant herbs and flowers, and decorations adorn the ancient fountains in town.  This marks Viernes de Dolores, Friday of Our Lady of Sorrows.  Neighbors offer visitors to the altars refreshments of cool fruit drinks and ice cream, representing the Virgin’s tears of sorrow.

Sunday, April 1, 2012: Palm Sunday (Domingo de Ramos) marks the first day of Holy Week in remembrance of Christ’s entry into Jerusalem.  Local vendors sell woven palm fronds outside most San Miguel churches.  Two processions will occur, the first at the chapel of El Calvario at the top of Calle San Francisco, in the early morning, led by a man on a donkey and trailed by 12 disciples en route to the San Francisco church.  The second takes place at the Parroquia, when an 18th-century image of Christ riding a donkey is carried from the church around 11 am to Parque Juarez and then returning down Calle Sollano to the Jardin.

Thursday, April 5, 2012: Jueves Santo (Holy or Mandy Thursday).  Most of the church altars are specially decorated to represent the Last Supper, the Washing of the Feet of the 12 Disciples and the Arrest of Jesus.  The faithful try to visit all seven of Las Siete Casas comprising the town’s main churches.  La Santa Casa de Loreto (inside El Oratorio de San Felipe Neri church) opens to the public once a year on this occasion.

Friday, April 6, 2012: The most solemn day in San Miguel, as church bells are silent and mournful processions wind through town for Viernes Santo (Good Friday).  Around noon, a court is convened in front of La Iglesia de San Rafael (next to La Parroquia), where  a re-enactment is held of Jesus being tried and consigned to his fate.  The following procession leads to each of the stations of the cross (marked by plaques throughout the Centro), before ending at the Capilla del Calvario.  Around 5 pm, a procession of Holy Burial leaves from the Oratorio de San Felipe Neri, paced by drum beat and frequently halting for prayer.  Shortly after dusk the pageant files up Calle Mesones, its entire length illuminated by the soft glow of candles.

Saturday, April 7, 2012: Sabado de Gloria (Holy Saturday) remains quiet until the early evening, when the candlelight procession of La Virgen de la Soledad leaves El Oratorio de San Felipe Neri, borne by a file of women veiled and dressed in black.  They circle the Plaza Civica and return to the Oratorio.

Sunday, April 8, 2012: Domingo de Pascua (Easter Sunday) is a day of masses, glorifying the Resurrection.  In the morning, the 6-foot-tall papier mache figures of Judas and other figures (often of current politicians!) are strung up between the Jardin and the old Presidencia.  The effigies hang there all morning until noon, when rockets are lit and each figure is blown up, much to the delight of the crowds.