Semana Santa Pilgrimage

Two sunday’s before Easter, Sr. de la Columna, the Virgin of Dolores and San Juan are removed from their places in the santuario, wrapped in silk scarves, covered, then carried in an all night pilgrimage to San Miguel for the upcoming Semana Santa celebrations and processions.

Last Saturday night, my friend Elvia, her son and daughter Roberto and Karen and I accompanied the statues from the church courtyard to San Miguel along with about 20,000 other pilgrims.

Beto and Elvia

We arrived in the plaza at about 11:30 and waited for the ‘Imagenes’ to appear. At midnight, the bells rang, banners and luminarias were brought forth and the three Imagenes, carried on litters, came out of the church.

Atotonilco, the saints lowered while mass is said

A short mass was projected over a loud speaker and the procession began following the route through el Cotijo, to the capilla on the  highway for a 3am mass, proceeding to a small pueblo whose people had decorated the entry with a carpet of flowers and sawdust images with arches of palm and large paper flowers.

The participants were varied – elderly men and women, very very old people being held up between two family members, babies carried in arms and strollers, teenagers, adults, groups of men in white hats leading song, women who walked the entire route, 8 hours, all night, in bare feet.

Midnight in the plaza at Atotonilco

Karen and Gisela, 3 am across from the chapel

After the rosay the procession wound it’s way, accompanied by singing to the top of Avenida Independencia where we were greeted with fireworks, and a mile of decorated street. People poured in from everywhere to watch the unveiling and procession to the San Juan de Dios Church at dawn.

© Dos Mujeres Mexican Folk Art 2011
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