Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Semana Santa - 2 weeks of Easter events

This is an attempt to capture some of the incredible celebrations that took place over the last two weeks here in San Miguel de Allende. Semana Santa is the one week before Easter but in this town it started the Sunday before with bringing "El Senor" from the nearby town of Atontonolco in a procession through the night which arrives in SMA at daybreak. We went with our friends Barbara and David at 6am to watch.

Bienvenidos Senor de la Columna
Decorations two weeks before Easter
The street is decorated for about one mile with many beautiful pieces of art made of seeds, flowers, grains representative of the many religious events happening. They are made during the night and as the procession passes, they are swept away. Many families are responsible for these works of art - somewhat like mandalas - impermanent.
Made on the street of flowers, seeds, grain, chamomile and more
"El Senor" and other statues are carried into one of the local churches - San Juan de Dios and there he remains until Holy Wednesday when he is taken out and taken through that particular section of town to visit families.

Mary following Senor de la Columna

The Palm Sunday procession begins
Palm Sunday - many beautiful items made from palm
The following Sunday is Palm Sunday - another holy day. Many pieces of art are made from palms and are sold again for this one special day. A procession through the main streets of town with many townspeople carrying their crosses of palm.
Solemn procession on Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday procession

Special decorations for Palm Sunday - taken down after the procession
At Las Monjas - Holy Thursday procession -
one of many at different churches in town

Holy Thursday marked the night of the Last Supper and there were also events related to this tradition which we did not see. We saw, however, the Monjas (Nuns) from the church as they walked into their chapel.
Then, after all that you have just read and seen pictures of ...came the day of TWO processions - Good Friday. First, during midday and early afternoon was the first procession "The Sacred Encounter" representing the meeting of Jesus with his mother on the way to Calvary. All the statues were decorated with flowers and the representation of Jesus being flogged and walking through the streets was very real during this procession (thank goodness it was paint instead of blood!)
Good Friday - first procession "The Sacred Encounter"
representing the meeting of Jesus with
 his mother on the way to Calvary.

For the evening, Barbara and I arrived at 4pm as we thought it would begin at 5pm and we wanted to be in the front for this special event. Needless to say as many other events this past year - it was listed wrong in the paper. It began at 6pm so we had already waited two hours - but we were right in the front in the lower right hand corner though you cannot see us. The procession lasted 1 1/2 hours and silent except for a band and the people quietly and reverently watched  the "Holy Burial" - complete with a glass coffin with Jesus visible inside. There were over 2000 people in this procession.
Getting ready for the second procession on Good Friday.

amazing to see the high heels walking on the cobblestones for several hours

The Holy Burial - the long procession on Good Friday - Silent and very solemn. 

For me, a non-religious person, this was still a very moving event especially watching the reverence and dedication of the many people and families gathered in town to watch. We tried to leave after seeing the whole procession and as we walked along one street we were locked in by the procession in front and the streets were blocked so that we got a second chance to see the end - along with singing of the Ava Maria which was beautiful.

And now it was Easter Sunday - the one day we all celebrate in the US and here it is just the end of these festivities and a day to stay home with the family. However, on the Jardin was the traditional "Destruction of Judas" - celebrated with many crepe paper dolls with signs representing local shops or people and they are lit and blow up. The last picture in this blog is a short video to end this long blog!
And finally, on Easter Sunday - Destruction of Judases

Monday, April 25, 2011

April - Rosey and Allan visiting from NC

Shadows at the Botanical Garden

Springtime...childrens parade
April "flew by" as do all the months here in San Miguel. The month began with a parade through town of all the primary school children dressed as different flowers and animals - too cute! Also a big fundraising event which included a concert IN the botanical gardens. For all our previous visitors - picture thousands of people sitting everywhere in the canyon - no water running at this time of the year! It was an 80 piece orchestra and depending where you where - great or terrible sound effects. For us it was great.
Symphony in the Botanical Garden

We also went to visit the local San Miguel Ruins which have recently been opened to the public. They are only one half hour away and very interesting as there are not many uncovered ruins this far north in Mexico.
Canada de la Virgen - ruins near San Miguel de Allende

Ricardo teaching "ingles"
 Saturday mornings finds us at a local restaurant where we both teach English to the employees (and a few of their friends). Ricardo entertains the beginners and I work with the more advanced - replicating the learning that I do with my spanish by reading stories and having conversations. We are also playing bananagrams (thanks Nancy!). They have fun making words and trying to make a few up at the same time!! I played in spanish and had a hard time.
 Then we had a wonderful week with Rosey and Allan from Chapel Hill. First a few days in San Miguel doing all the "regular" activities - yoga, meals in and out, walking, shopping, etc. Then off to Mexico City for a few days. We packed in all the things we could fit into the 48 hours before they left for return to NC.

Voladores outside Anthropological Museum in Mexico City

Dinner at "Tacuba"

Teotichaucan - outside Mexico City