Holy Week in Oaxaca

Lent is the period of 40 days which comes before Easter in the Christian calendar. Beginning on Ash Wednesday, Lent is a season of reflection and preparation before the celebrations of Easter.

For "oaxaqueños" the Lent season is accompanied by endless traditions.

Friday of El llano Park

“Viernes Del Llano”, which is celebrated as a tribute to the beauty of Oaxacan women. Every Friday, starting from seven in the morning the contestants take a stroll through Juárez Park, while male members of the crowd throw flowers and cards at the girls to choose their favorite contestant. The event is enlivened by the sounds of a marimba, and a band from the University.

The Samaritana

The fourth Friday of Lent is celebrated with the Samaritana; In the temples of the city of Oaxaca, it is a tradition to conduct a religious ceremony when the Gospel (John 4, 5-42) is read with a meditation, and prayer and blessing of waters is performed. The event brings together churches, markets, schools, private homes and public institutions which set up stands decorated with China paper, palm, bamboo and bougainvillea flower ornaments, giving away water refreshments of typical Oaxacan flavors, as well as sorbets made from season fruits, accompanied by typical regional sweets, all accompanied by a festive atmosphere with the traditional marimba music.

Holy Week in Oaxaca

The Fifth Friday

The fifth Friday of Lent is particularly important for the valley of Etla, where the head celebration is called “Señor de las Peñas”. This festivity is a popular religious journey, a procession with their venerated image.

The Sixth Friday

The sixth Friday of Lent celebrates “Good Friday”, a deeply rooted festivity in the city, which highlights the tradition of raising altars in honor of Our Lady of Dolores, whose elements reminiscent of the pallor of sorrow and suffering. For this occasion, Catholic families tend to adorn their altars with pots of corn, lentils, canary seed and chia flower, decorated with purple paper or cloth to remember the penance, and maguey flower crowns called cucharillas. This festival is mainly celebrated in the districts of Jalatlaco, Marquesado, San Juanito and some municipal agencies.

Holy Thursday

The visit to the seven altars occurs on Holy Thursday and the Easter Triduum begins. From a religious point of view there are three different moments during Holy Thursday, which must be performed during the Mass: 1) To wash the feet, 2) The institution of the Eucharist, and 3), the mandate of fraternal charity. Subsequently, the fourth moment is related to the moving of the Blessed Sacrament to the altar and this is when the visit of the seven houses (altars) begins, symbolizing the times that Jesus was sent from the high priest Caiaphas to Annas (from one place to another). It should be noted that the number seven symbolizes “plenitude”. The faithful visit the prescribed Seven Temples in the streets of Antequera, from afternoon until nighttime, where representations of Jesus washing the feet of apostles are interpreted.

Good Friday

On Good Friday the Stations of the Cross are performed, as well as the ceremony of the meeting in different temples of the city, starting at 6 AM in Santo Tomás Xochimilco, at 8 AM in Jalatlaco, at 10 AM in San Juanito and at 12 PM in Santa María el Marquesado. In the afternoon, the traditional seven-word sermon takes place in temples such as La Merced, Santa María el Marquesado and Santo Tomás Xochimilco. A major event for Oaxacan people are the condolences to the Virgin in her loneliness, which takes place in the minor basílica of "Nuestra Señora de la Soledad" and starts with the procession of her image and an Eucharistic celebration presided by the Archbishop, who offers his condolences to the Virgin.

The Silence Procession

The Silence Procession is a cultural activity done on Good Friday, headed by the Priest who intervenes who meditates on its meaning. The procession begins in this order: the Priest, the flageolet, the banners, the image of the Holy Burial and different images from different churches in the city. This procession starts in the temple of La Preciosa Sangre de Cristo, touring through the streets of Macedonio Alcalá, Cruz de Piedra, García Vigil, Murguia and Andador Turístico, returning to La Sangre de Cristo temple.

It is a procession of a mourning nature in which condolences are given to the Virgin Mary. Its main characteristic is that both the participants and the spectators remain silent as the images of the procession pass. This shows respect for the death of Jesus. The procession passes through the very important streets of the city: Andador Turístico, Xolotl, García Vigil, Morelos and ends at the Sangre de Cristo church, the entire route is done in a programmed order.

Holy Saturday

On Holy Saturday, you can observe in churches such as Carmen Alto or Santo Domingo that the Easter Resurrection is celebrated. The Easter Vigil begins during the night, which consists of the blessing of the new fire (a sparkler at the entrance door of the church, blessing the fire to light the Paschal Candle that represents the Risen Christ).

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