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La Semana Santa en Oaxaca, Mexico 2012

La Semana Santa (Holy Week) is celebrated throughout the state of Oaxaca. Altars are constructed for the Virgin Mary the Friday before Palm Sunday. This day is known as El Viernes de Dolores (the Friday of Pain). This always takes place on the sixth Friday of Cuaresma (Lent). This tradition from colonial times pays respect to the Virgin Mary who suffered during the time her son was crucified. Many of the altars hold ceramic animals that sprout chia seeds. El Domingo de Ramos (Palm Sunday) is the beginning of La Semana Santa. Many communities make decorative palm weavings that are used in the Palm Sunday processions.

In Teotitlán del Valle the community celebrates El Lunes Santo (Holy Monday). This event starts at nine in the morning and concludes at eight o'clock in the evening. Throughout the day the faithful stop at the fourteen stations of the cross. Each stop is constructed from rugs of the village. Small children are dressed as angels. A small boy around the age of eight is dressed as the centurion (a Roman soldier). He rides a highly decorated horse with bells wrapped around all four legs. At many of the stations food is served along with nieves (ice cream), agua frescas, tejate and tamales.

During this time statues of the crucified Christ and the Virgin Mary are seen everywhere. All communities observe El Jueves Santo (Holy Thursday) where the washing of the feet occurs in churches everywhere.

In Oaxaca City a Silent Procession takes place at six in the evening on El Viernes Santo (Good Friday). The Silent Procession has been taking place since 1986. It was originated by the Sangre de Cristo church in Oaxaca City. Processions such as this had their origins in Seville, Spain. Hooded penitentes take to the streets wearing robes in the colors of red, purple, yellow and white. Their identify is anonymous as they are doing penance for their sins. Cofradías carry large religious banners known as estandartes. They are made from velvet fabric and they are covered with reliquaries and milagros.

Domingo de Pascua (Easter Sunday) is celebrated with much happiness and joy at one of the churches in town. Throughout the day music was played, the Danza de la Pluma from Zachilla danced, food and drinks were served to all in attendance. After an evening mass, a procession took place around the neighborhood. Once the procession concluded there was dancing by the China Oaxqueñas with canastas (baskets) of fireworks on their heads. A castillo (a firework castle) ended the week with a big and joyous bang celebrating the resurrection of Christ.
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Altar with Cristo
Altar with Cristo
In Prayer
In Prayer
Las Niñas
Las Niñas
The Sorrow of Mary
The Sorrow of Mary
Roman Soldiers
Roman Soldiers
In Awe
In Awe
Cristo with garlands
Cristo with garlands
Preparing Anda for Procession
Preparing Anda for Procession
The Archbishop addressing the crowd
The Archbishop addressing the crowd
Lady in procession
Lady in procession
Cristo Entierno
Cristo Entierno
Young boys as disciples
Young boys as disciples
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