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Apr 7, 2013

What Happened to Easter?

Easter Lily1

Many of you know that we particularly came to Mexico during this time to experience Easter here.  We are staying out of town and no one at the farm wanted to brave the traffic and the crowds.  So we didn’t get to go in and see the Good Friday activities.  I was very, very disappointed since we had planned our dates around it.
We did get to see some of the activities when we went in to town on Easter Sunday to begin our “in town” experience.  Monday we were sitting at the bar table using the WiFi at the American Library.  A guy was eating his lunch there too.  I was reading the American/Mexican newspaper Atencion and all about the Good Friday celebrations.
I mentioned to Kris how well every thing was acted out and how real it looked.  They had done an excellent job – really like a movie set.  I was really sad that we missed it then.  The guy next to me asked me if I had ever seen the story acted out by the Mexicans.  I told him that I had not but that we had specifically set our dates to be able to include it in our experience of Mexico.
I told him everything looked so real.  He looked at me and told me that it like that because it WAS real.  HUH?  All the blood and stuff?  He said that there were three real crosses, three real men – a real person being Jesus, the blood all over was real blood.  The really do whip them and cut them up, and they really do put  them on the crosses, and they really do drop the crosses in the ground.   They weren’t actors, they were participants!
He had attended it once and said he never would again.  His take was that it was truly gross, truly upsetting and very, very horrible.  He told me I should be deeply thankful that I didn’t get to see it because it marks you.  These people do it, just like in the Philippines and elsewhere, as a way of doing penance, of great honor in being chosen to be the two thieves and the highest honor in being chosen to be Jesus.  They do it all – Pontius Pilate, crown of thorns, blood and guts and all.  People follow the “parade” crying and beating their chests and sobbing and praying and that it’s not fake, it’s real to them.
He says he doesn’t  go anywhere near  el Jardim (central garden) in San Miguel that evening.  And repeated that unless I’m into gore and violence and horror, I should be glad I didn’t get to see it.
And I was very glad.
And . . . I was very sad too.
I was very sad that people still feel like they have to pay for their own sins and that it’s an honor to participate in such a violent and gruesome event.
After that conversation, Kris and I began to be so thankful that instead of the Good Friday Passion Parade, we had gone into one of the great cathedral-type Catholic churches.  We went in because we heard drums and guitars and music – we love music so it was a natural choice!
Mass had ended and 2/3 of the people had left.  So we went in and sat up front about 1/3 the way back from the front of the church.  There were dozens of young people – Junior High and High School age who were singing and dancing and waving their arms sort of like we’ve seen here when people are singing praises to God.  Gloria, Gloria, alleluia, alleluia to the Lord!  We could even understand what they were singing.  It was like in the old Catholic charismatic movement days!   Up front there were two banners.  One read “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” and the other said “He is not here for he is risen!”  And they were singing that.
It was very moving to us.  The young people were so excited to be singing.  Yes, there was a whole band with guitars, keyboard,  bass and drums and they were singing really cool music in praise of Jesus.  I think we even have a photo of it.  Now if you don’t celebrate Jesus, remember I’m not trying to offend you.  Most of you who know me, know I love him.  So it turned out okay that we didn’t see Good Friday Passion, (whew!) and that we did go to the Cathedral on Sunday – on Easter.
So, that’s what happened to Easter on our trip to San Miguel!  It all turned out super after all, just not how we thought it was going to.
See photos at

Easter Lily2

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