Monday, April 2, 2007

Palm Sunday Like Nowhere Else

Sunday – Week 5: A combination of Palm Sunday, April Fools Day, and switching to Daylight Savings got the exploding rockets and bell ringers out really early. Mary Ann couldn’t believe she was supposed to be awake in the semi-darkness.

San Miguel does Palm Sunday like nowhere I have ever been. I must have been repressed by all those Methodist, Presbyterian and Episcopal years. As a start, just down the street a block, at the Calvario Temple, the procession with Jesus riding the burro started down the hill followed by worshipers dressed as the disciples and everyone carrying palms. The procession ended at the San Francisco church. The poor burro, however, was left outside the church.

We then went on to the Jardin and around the Parroquia Church a processional parade was coming around the corner of the church. This was a big deal parade with hundreds of participants dressed for church. In the parade were dancers, drum and bugle bands, singers, clergy, and a float with a Jesus statue riding the donkey. The entire parade marched into the La Parroquia church. We were quite amazed that all the procession participants would fit, but the square footage of the churches with the cross aisles can be deceptive.

Outside of the church in the open area in front of the Jardin were vendors covering all the sides of the square selling elaborate woven palm crosses. Business was brisk as it seemed that everyone in the Jardin was carrying some sort of small palm decoration or palm cross. We are the proud owners of two of them. As you can imagine, all of this pageantry and religiosity was a major attraction for Mary Ann, the soon to be professional photographer! Thank goodness for digital cameras, or we would have to mortgage our future to Kodak.

Quirky Living Note: Generally, the water in San Miguel is pretty safe, when ordering in restaurants. At our casa we have one of the big five gallon dispensers of purified water, like those you see in office settings. We also have a water purifier on our kitchen sink spigot for when we wash the dishes or fill the coffee maker. The good news about purified water is that five gallon jug of Santorini water (supplied by Pepsi Cola) costs only 17 pesos, about $1.50 U.S. dollars.

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