Posts Tagged ‘Cathedral’

Looking back and appreciating life in Oaxaca, 2018.

IMG_4678 WolfMoon & Pistachio_Jan

January – View through the terrace pistachio tree of full Wolf Moon.


February – Guest helping to harvest Waje dinner at Rancho 314 urban farm in Santa Cruz Xoxocotlán.


March – Reyna Mendoza Ruiz demonstrating metate technique at El Sabor Zapoteco cooking class in Teotitlán del Valle.


April – Pit for cooking agave piñas to make mezcal at the palenque of Faustino Garcia in San Baltazar Chichicapa(m).


May – Tlacolulokos mural in Tlacolula de Matamoros.


June – Summer afternoon on the Zócalo in Oaxaca city.


July – Feria del Barro Rojo in San Marcos Tlapazola.


August – Fundación En Via microfinance tour to San Miguel del Valle.


September – Protest by students from the Escuela Normal Bilingüe e Intercultural de Oaxaca.


October – Celebrating el Señor del Rayo at the Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción.


November – At the home/workshop of filigree maestro, José Jorge García García.


December – Pop-up sale in Oaxaca city by the Las Sanjuaneras weavers from San Juan Colorado.

Feliz año nuevo y muchisimas gracias to all my wonderful blog readers from near and far!  Thank you for reading, for commenting, for sharing, for the opportunity to meet some of you, and for inspiring me to continue.  Onward to 2019!!!

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The announcement came at midnight with the ringing of the Cathedral’s bells and explosions of cohetes (rockets).  Today el Señor del Rayo is having his day!  Like Guelaguetza, Noche de Rabanós (Night of the Radishes), and Día de la Samaritana (Good Samaritan Day), this is an “only in Oaxaca” celebration.

Señor del Rayo crucifix surrounded by lilies.

The carving of Christ on the Cross was brought to Oaxaca during the 16th century and was placed in the temple of San Juan de Dios, a church which had adobe walls and a straw (or possibly wood) roof.  Legend has it that lightning struck the church and everything was destroyed, save for this figurine.  Un milagro!  It was christened Señor del Rayo (Lord of Lightning), was given its own chapel in the newly built cathedral, and has been much venerated ever since.

Pillars covered in multicolored lilies

On Sunday, October 21, el Señor del Rayo is moved from his capilla (last chapel on the left) to the main altar.  The cathedral fills with lilies (the scent “breathtaking”), and the faithful flock to pray before Señor del Rayo.  When one inhales the fragrance, one exhales a heavenly, “ahhhh…”

Close-up of orange, yellow, and lavender lilies covering a pillar

Like all good Mexican celebrations, be they religious or secular, there will be pirotécnicos tonight.  Toritos de luces (little paper-mache bulls wired with fireworks) have begun gathering.

Papermache bull (tornito)

And, as I write, the frame of the castillo below has been raised to its “upright and locked position,” its various spinning appendages have been affixed, and gunpowder tracks are waiting to be lit.

Main structure of a "castillo" laying on its side.

Alas, the action doesn’t begin until around 10:00 PM.  The spirit is willing, but it’s been a busy day, and this “too too solid flesh” is looking forward to melting into her bed.  Think I’ll just watch the fireworks from the terrace.  I know, what a wimp!!!

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Yesterday, under a full moon…

and clutching our “pan bendito” (blessed bread), we began our pilgrimage.  Jueves Santo (Holy/Maundy Thursday) tradition calls for visiting 7 churches (la visita de las siete casas) in the city with one’s pan bendito, which must be kept to offer to guests, should any grace our doorstep.  This all relates back to Jesus’s Last Supper, which this date commemorates.

3 buns on a plate

First stop was the nearby Templo de San José, where palm fronds were also distributed and believers used them to brush up and down the statue of Jesus.  Hands also ran down his legs and then were used to touch one’s face.

After emerging from the side door of the jam-packed church, we set off for Templo de San Felipe Neri (whose picturesque dome can be seen (left of center) on my blog banner-head).

Altar with candles and lights.

Next stop was Carmen Abajo

Altar with JHS on banner above altar

followed by the far right side chapel of the La Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción.  A plaque at the entrance of the chapel read, “El maestro esta aqui y te llama” (The teacher is here and calls you) and the multitude seemed to be heeding the call.

Altar with red banners reading, "De este pan no morirá; El pan de vida eterna"

We then strolled across the zócalo to the Jesuit, Templo de la Compañía de Jesus.

Altar with candles and flanked with yellow and white floral arrangements

We changed direction and headed north up the Álcala.  Big mistake!  A mosh pit (Chris, this WAS a mosh pit) surrounding a Tuna band that was playing in the middle of the street, causing gridlock and bringing us to an abrupt stop.  Eventually, following our blocker (my son, the lineman would be proud), we eventually found light and continued up to Preciosa Sangre de Cristo Templo, where we had earlier spent 1-1/2 hours (and it was still going on when we left!) at a mass where the priest reenacted Jesus washing the feet of his disciples at the Last Supper.

God in a cloud above a lamb on an altar, draped in red cloth.

Strolling across the Álcala to Santo Domingo was much less challenging. The aisle to Santo Domingo’s main altar was blocked and we were routed to a side chapel.  Hurray, we did it — this made seven churches visited!

Gold encrusted altar

However, though bleary-eyed (as evidenced by the photo below), we opted for just one more, Carmen Alto.

White bearded man hovering in the clouds above lighted candles

Home beckoned…  and sleep came easily under the watch of the moon, now appropriately encircled by a halo.

Full moon with halo shining from behind clouds

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Last night I, along with thousands of others, gathered on the Alameda, with eyes gazing upwards at the “espectáculo” being projected on the facade of the Cathedral.

Three projectors allowed alebrijes to march across the front of the Cathedral, tapetes to hang from the rooftop, and tin ornaments to be displayed, as if they were on a wall in a mercado waiting to be purchased.  Buildings collapsed and were rebuilt, vines reclaimed a pyramid, and so much more.  It was accompanied by music familiar to anyone who has spent more than a day in Oaxaca.  And, at the end, Flor de Piña was heard as fireworks erupted over the Cathedral.

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And so, for whatever role they may have played, my hat is off to the two guys hanging around in their hammocks, mentioned in my July 20 and July 24 posts.  The Sinfonía de Luz y Sonido was, indeed spectacular!

Rumor has it that it is being streamed, though I haven’t discovered the link as yet.  If I find it, I promise to add it to this post.

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Aha!  So this is what the guys in the hammocks mentioned a few days ago are guarding:  It’s the gear for a sound and light show being projected on the Cathedral.  Noticias has cleared up the mystery and posted a video snippet to lure readers:

Sinfonia de luz en la Catedral oaxaqueña

It worked… I’m going!!!

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