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Posts Tagged ‘Via Crucis’

Lunes Santo (Holy Monday), at least here in Oaxaca, brings the Festividad del Señor del Rescate (Festival of the Lord of the Redemption).  I was clueless, until I ran into my neighbor Juan as he was returning from work.  He recommended that I and my camera check out the action in the vicinity of the Basílica de la Soledad.  I grabbed my keys and little Lumix and off I went.

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I heard the rhythmic beat of the tambor and chanted prayers before I saw El Señor and his followers paused in front of the bunker at the entrance to the Comisión de Seguridad Pública, Vialidad y Protección Civil headquarters on Av. Morelos.  An ironic or fitting (?) site for the handcuffed Jesus to stop on the Víacrucis por la Reconciliación y la Paz (Way of the Cross for Reconciliation and Peace).

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On this Lunes Santo, the (almost) full moon watched standard bearers navigate the maze of overhead wires as the procession continued to wind its way through the city’s streets.  As for me, I returned home to eat dinner — there is so much going on, one has to pace oneself.

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And so Viernes Santo (Good Friday) began…

Mass said, a Vía Crucis (Stations of the Cross) procession through the streets of my neighborhood.

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Lunes Santo (Holy Monday) in Teotitlán del Valle provided another moving and memorable experience.  For some unknown reason, the village re-enacts the 14 stations of the cross on the Monday before Easter.  Following a special early morning mass at the Templo de la Preciosa Sangre de Cristo, statues of Jesus and the Virgin Mary are hoisted on platforms and carried from the church to signal the start of the day-long pilgrimage.  They are led by a band playing a mournful and dissonant tune as they set off to wind their way through the cobblestone streets of Teotitlán.

“Stations” are set up along the route by designated families — some are decorated with the village’s famous woolen tapetes (rugs).  Tamales, non alcoholic beverages (alcohol, even the ubiquitous mezcal, is forbidden during Semana Santa), and nieves (ices) are offered at others.  At all, the appropriate prayers are read, incense of copal is burned, and offerings, including of corn and lilies, are made.  And, as always, children have important roles to play.

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The procession is solemn and dignified and filled with pre-Columbian, along with Catholic, tradition and symbolism.  Like all the other ritual celebrations in Teotitlán del Valle, these are not performed for the benefit of tourists — they are some of the strands of the warp and weft that have woven this community together for thousands of years.

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I opened the front gate this morning to find the sidewalk had morphed into an Estación de la Cruz.

Station of the cross on the sidewalk with Jesus and Nuestra Señora de la Soledad.

Worshipers prayed, recited the appropriate devotions, and then slowly moved on.

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