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Holy Week and Easter in Mexico: The Complete Guide

In Mexico, the Easter holiday consists of a two-week-long observance. The Catholics in this country consider Semana Santa, the Holy Week leading up to Easter, and Semana de Pascua, the week after Easter Sunday, an important religious observance as well as significant vacation period.

Holy Week proper begins on Palm Sunday, with the palms used on this day often woven into intricate designs. This commemoration is born from the pilgrimages to the places of the passion and death of Jesus Christ, which took place between the IV and V centuries, where prayers and hymns were recited according to Saint Jerome, but it was the Franciscans in 1342, who started to this tradition outside of Jerusalem, mainly in Italy. As the celebration of Holy Week spread, the church tried to establish a norm for its celebration, initially there was no division into stations, it was not until the 13th century when the Route of the Via Dolorosa was created and with it four seasons. Later, in the 16th century, the stations increased to fourteen.

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Religious and cultural observances in some important states in Mexico

Oaxaca

This period attracts tourists who encounter this commemoration in which religious and cultural celebrations are combined. During Holy Week, you can find the colorful craft and gastronomic fairs that take place every year in many parts of the state, such as Valles Centrales, the Barro Negro Fair in San Bartolo Coyotepec and many more. Here also takes place Ash Wednesday, besides the processions to the churches with palms that are placed at the entrances of homes or that are used to create handicrafts.

In the following days the different religious customs continue. It is also possible to attend events such as sacred music concerts or processions. The Way of the Cross, also known as the Via Dolorosa (Way of Sorrow) is the main event and seeks to represent the important moments that the Son of God went through, including the crucifixion. This is as relevant as the Procession of Silence. Both are held on Good Friday and the traditions continue on Glory Saturday and Resurrection Sunday.

Samaritan Day also takes place here and it's a tradition celebrated on the fourth Friday in Lent. Refreshments are offered to passersby.

Stay with us at Quinta Real Oaxaca, a hotel that has the great architectural value of the beautiful Ex-convent of Santa Catalina de Siena, located in the heart of the majestic city of Oaxaca, it was founded by Fray Domingo de Betanzos in the 16th century. In 1998 it was declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site for its more than four centuries of history.

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Puebla

The Holy Week procession that this 2023 will take place on Friday, April 7, will have a route with seven religious images, among which the Lord of Wonders and the Child Doctor stand out -whose contingents bring together more than 20,000 people each one. More than 100,000 people are expected to attend.

Don't forget to visit Quinta Real Puebla, which is located in the center of the city, where it once was an historic building from the 16th century, built in 1593.

Zacatecas

This festivities are also related to gastronomy. During Lent Fridays and holy days, the 'Siete Cazuelas' are served, consisting of broad bean soup, lentil soup, shrimp pancakes with nopales and pipián, fish fillet, torrejas, capirotada, sweet chilacayote and Agua de Obispo or salad water that is made with beet water, banana slices, orange and lettuce.

Some of days that stand out here are Friday of Dolores or Friday of Passion where they use to put an altar to the Virgen de los Dolores, decorated with newly planted wheat. At Palm Sunday, laurel and braided palm branches that are given at the temples of the city center are later placed at the entrance of the houses. During Holy Thursday it is usual to visit the seven temples in Aguascalientes: San Antonio de Padua, La Merced, El Sagrario, San Marcos, El Encino, La Purísima, San Diego and the Cathedral Basilica. These visits and the prayer in each of them symbolizes the accompaniment of the believers of Jesus, in each of his tours on the night he was arrested until his crucifixion.

On Holy Friday, two more important religious rituals with the The Way of the Cross and the Procession of Silence that takes place at night in some parishes and in San José de Gracia. Another peculiarity is that during Glory Saturday, children bathe with buckets of water to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Stay with us at Quinta Real Aguascalientes and enjoy this observance.

Merida

Holy Week in Merida was declared in 2018 as Fiesta of International Tourist Interest.

Stay in the heart of Mérida at Hotel Camino Real Mérida, located inside the 'City 32' Shopping Mall.

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Mexico City

The most famous passion play in Mexico is held in Iztapalapa. This production involves over 4000 local residents, all of whom are born in Iztapalapa–. They perform scenes related to the last week of Jesus's life from Palm Sunday to Good Friday. The production has been done each year since 1843 and today the spectacle attracts over 2 million spectators, mostly Mexican. The play is not a strictly Biblical production as there are a number of characters such as a spy, a dog, a “wandering Jew” and others that are unique to this event.

During your visit, we will be waiting for you at Camino Real Polanco, Camino Real Aeropuerto México, Camino Real Pedregal, Camino Real Santa Fe or Real Inn Perinorte.

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