Monday, April 9, 2007

The Easter Weedend Festivities

Easter Weekend – Week 6: Thursday evening we had a wonderful dinner in a restaurant named Romano’s located on Hernandez Macias on the far side of the Jardin. You might think we eat out a lot. We do, but I can assure you that it is scientific research to guarantee good eating locations for our guests. Romano’s is Italian and we had delicious entrees of manicotti and linguini with clams. The room was very colorful and we had a great view of a Jacaranda tree in bloom. Mary Ann is trying to figure out how to make a Jacaranda tree grow at Lake Chelan.

As you may have noticed, the Holy Week celebrations are building up, and the Good Friday procession was quite something else. It is a somber affair, with a lot of black worn by both men and women. The procession is called the Holy Burial and is the longest of Holy Week. The estimate is that there are 2,000 participants. The uniformed Roman soldiers, young girls dressed in white as angels, women with black lace mantillas, and black suited pall bearers accompany carved statues of archangels, a life size figure of the Virgin of Solitude and the figure of Jesus. The procession included priests saying blessings, an orchestra playing somber music, and a children’s and men’s choir. The procession moves very slowly with a lot of stops, so it took over an hour and a half to pass our viewing position. The centro and all the procession streets were jammed with spectators.

Saturday we climbed to the top of the mountain on a stairway up the street. Some very nice homes are there, but difficult to get to. The city is mobbed with visitors, with the locals complaining about all the Mexico City folks invading for the weekend. We attended St. Paul’s early service on Easter and then went to breakfast. We needed to be in Jardin at noon for the exploding of the Judas papier mache 6 foot figures strung between the park and the Municipal Building. This Easter tradition started in colonial times and has been kept alive by local craftsman. The effigies represent hated politicians or persons in authority and hang throughout the morning. At noon small rockets are lit and one by one, each figure twists and turns until a loud explosion shreds the figure into bits of paper and cane.

Quirky Living Note: Day and night in the centro area and the Jardin you see brigades of uniformed Limpia (cleaner) ladies sweeping the streets and park with their wonderful old style brooms. The LImpia name is on the backs of their blue and florescent contrasting uniforms. Like at the end of parades in the United States, the Limpia ladies bring up the rear, in the case of the processions, sweeping up all the flower petals that have been spread on the streets by the young angels.

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