A Travellerspoint blog

Easter Sunday

sunny 30 °C

All the festivities are now over and Easter Sunday is actually a pretty quiet day here. We decided to enjoy our usual weekly walk to Chapala . . . this time for lunch and to take a walk along the Malecon. We had lunch in the `Paris` restaurant . . . so named because they have lots of paintings of the Eiffel Tower? Aside from that there is nothing French about the place at all. I ordered an Americano coffee with cream and it arrived in the biggest cup on earth, steaming hot and filled to the brim with no room for the cream. The young fellow serving was doing his best so I told him it was fine. When time came, we took the bus back home and spent the rest of this Sunday afternoon relaxing like the majority.

Posted by cnmcgeehan 20:15 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Holy Saturday

sunny 30 °C

We decided to lay low for much of the day as all the activities were to take place in the evening. As with all major events in Mexico, religious or otherwise, all the celebrations and partying happens the night before.

We read in the local paper that there would be a New Fire ceremony to take place at 9PM and the outdoor church service at 10PM. We walked around town but never found the light ceremony. It turns out the New Fire is actually a ceremony whereby the faithful bring candles to the church. The priest will say prayers and give blessings as they are being lit from flames of the small bonfire at the entrance of the church courtyard and then those involved make a procession back towards the alter at the front of the service. A bit disappointing as we thought there might be something more to it and possibly some fireworks or something afterwards as in Ajijic and Chapala. There they do a thing where effigies of Judas and others . . . possibly politicians and such, who are considered to be traitors . . . are hung in the town square and blown up with firecrackers and such. Maybe we'll see that another time.

The evening service was outside the front of the church and it was a pleasant evening with a cooling breeze blowing from the lake. While we waited for the start the bar/restaurant next door had a band playing 60’s and 70’s rock. Odd as this might sound, it really is Mexico as thankfully things are not as ordered here as they are in Canada. During the mass Jesus was resurrected from the tomb but it was a lot less drama than the events on Thurs night and Fri afternoon. Although at that point the church bells started chiming (they have been silent since Thursday night) and the whole tower is lit with coloured floodlights. We had hoped there would be more to this celebration

Posted by cnmcgeehan 20:12 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Maundy Thursday and Good Friday

sunny 32 °C

Maundy Thursday, San Antonio
The day is marked by religious services and the continuation of the Passion Play commemorating the Last Supper and the condemning of Jesus.

Again an amazing performance . . .

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Afterwards the church bells and musical instruments are silenced inside all churches until the conclusion of Saturday's Easter Vigil.

Good Friday
I’m not quite sure who named it or why it is called Good Friday because it isn't really very good unless you are a fan of Pontius Pilate and the Romans. Anyway, it is a holiday in much of the western world and if you happen to be in a Catholic stronghold like we are here . . . Holy Week is a huge holiday. It starts with the biggest weekend of the year in Mexico whether you are religious or not. It's an opportunity to travel, to party, or just have some time off your normal routines. Traffic started being a problem on Thursday and the town and all of the Lakeside area is noticeably jam packed with people . . . many of them Mexicans on vacation for the next week or more; carload after carload have driven down from Guadalajara. Most of the locals and foreigners who live full time in the area have stocked up by now and plan to lay low till it's all over.

Each of the towns and cities in this area put on a Passion Play that starts on Thursday and continues thru to Easter Saturday. We're told that in Ajijic, where the production will likely be more elaborate, the crowds will be so huge it's difficult to move around and we would have to pick one vantage point and take in only that part of the play that passes by that spot. So based on what we've seen on Thurs we decide we would follow the play in San Antonio which is also closest to where we are staying. Since it is a smaller community we would get a better view of the proceedings.

Let me start by saying the whole passion play is taken very seriously. In fact, they used to actually nail the Jesus figure to the cross until one year it was too much for the man and unfortunately he died. Now they tie him to the cross but it doesn’t mean he doesn’t suffer during this ordeal. Here it is a very prestigious thing to be chosen to play this part.

It is hot, very hot as it is the middle of the day. The procession is nearly two kilometres in length and two centurions on horseback lead the way with Jesus staggering along under the weight of the cross. The two criminals walking with him also carry crosses and there are a number of centurions walking along whipping Jesus as they laugh when he stumbles. A loud throng of people follow cursing and jeering.
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They stop every so often as the story is told and explained to the people by loudspeaker, although I’m pretty sure they know all the parts by heart. At one point I was quite close to Jesus as he fell under the weight of the cross and as he was being whipped I really felt the emotion of the moment and could almost see myself 2000 years ago watching it as if for the first time.
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At the edge of town the procession filed into an open field (cow pasture really) and the criminals and Jesus are tied to the crosses and left hanging while Jesus has his final words. This is a beautiful setting with the lake in the background but quite a somber mood in the crowd. There is more taunting of the men on the cross and this continues for almost an hour.
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Jesus is taken down from the cross and carried back into town to be placed in the cave/tomb that had been prepared at the front of the church with a Centurion guard placed out front thus ending the story for today.
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The priest said some words . . . well he went on the way priests do and finally the play was over and all the players gathered round to take a bow and pose for photos.
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There is a lot of preparation involved in this, the costumes and makeup are amazing. All very touching and quite real.

Posted by cnmcgeehan 19:55 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Palm Sunday

sunny 30 °C

San Antonio Tlayacapan :
The start of Holy Week and the many Passion Plays in the area. This procession was at mid-day . . . hot, hot!
Charlie showed little interest so I took camera in hand and went to see what the fuss was about.
Not having seen anything like this previous to being here I was amazed! The costumes, makeup, the level of involvement by the community and the total commitment and seriousness shown by each member of the cast for their individuals roles - unbelievable.
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Ajijic :
Later, in the early evening, Ajijic did their version and this time I was able to convince Charlie to accompany me. Here the streets are lined with alfalfa in preparation for the procession of Jesus and his disciples entering the city. Once again beautifully done as the procession made it's way in front of us and on to the church courtyard. However, a much different mood. I felt that San Antonio's was a much more lively and joyous celebration of this part of the Easter story. Unfortunately, can't be everywhere at once so I'm planning on following their productions throughout the rest of the week.
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Here the organizing committee hosts a 'old-fashioned village fair' at the plaza. There are food stalls all around and in every corner of the plaza serving all types of traditional foods and drink. As well there are tables with games.
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Of course the best fun is the many types of firecrackers and noise makers as well as the ever present confetti eggs . .
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Posted by cnmcgeehan 08:21 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Ajijic - Stations of the Cross

sunny 31 °C

In keeping with the Easter week activities I (Nellie) decided to accept an invitation by Doug Ransom to hike the trail in the hills north of Ajijic to see the Stations of the Cross.

The 'hike' was actually a walk up a well used, dusty trail with many switchbacks. Luckily Doug had been on part of this walk prior to today or we'd probably not have found our way. There were a lot of different paths, none of them marked in any way, and we could easily have taken a wrong turn and ended up . . . nowhere, but hot and dusty.

The stations of the cross up there were interesting, decorated long ago and now deteriorating. We stopped at each of the fourteen stations, the last being a small Chapel which was really more like a shrine.

Here you see numbers 1, four and 11 . . .
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Also, Doug had researched some info on the meaning of each and read aloud as we stopped along the way . . .

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The Chapel . . . P4140140.jpgP4140141.jpg

Posted by cnmcgeehan 08:32 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

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