I added two weeks to my San Miguel stay to be here for the Easter celebrations. Am I am glad I did. Mexicans know how to celebrate. The Mexican Easter celebration is filled with processions, music, color, drama, and even a bit of comedy. The past three days were a feast for the senses.
Viernes Santo (Good Friday)
Viernes Santo, there are processions held in several locations throughout San Miguel.
Santo Encuentro (Holy Encounter)
At 11:30 a.m., the Santo Encuentro procession takes place at the Parroquia and through surrounding streets. The main attraction is an antique figure of Jesus that includes a mechanism allowing the statue’s head to be raised as if to look at his mother, represented by the statue of the Vigen de los Dolores (Virgin of Sorrows).
Santo Entierro (Holy Burial)
At 5:00 p.m., the final procession of the day assembles at the Oratorio. The Santo Entierro is a royal funeral procession. Those who walk in the procession are dressed in luto riguroso, strict mourning. Men in black suits, white shirts, black ties. Women in black dresses and mantillas, white gloves. The formality of the procession is memorable. More impressive is the reverance of the people who line the streets for two hours to attend the slow, slow advance.
Domingo de Resurrección (Easter Sunday)
On Sunday the celebrations end. At noon, the traditional burning of effigies of Judas and other disliked figures are strung up in El Jardin. The pinata-like papier-maché figures are blown up with internal firecrackers! The crowd roars its approval. The figures’ heads are collected and sold.
My flight to Los Angeles departs early Tuesday morning. My bags are packed and my head is filled with memories of a magical place and friendly, beautiful people. I accomplished the goals I set for what I’ve called my “artistic retreat.” I feel like I’ve found a place where I am free to focus attention, time, and energy on activities that nourish my creative spirit. I return home refreshed, invigorated, and with my creative batteries charged.
Adios, San Miguel. Hasta.