Monday, April 25, 2011

The Burning of Judas

It’s a party on the plaza. Throngs of people loose little children who scurry around like ants. The excitement raises with exploding, brilliant fireworks. We shriek and dodge behind thick stone pillars to escape rockets that shoot right at us. It is not likely that one will enjoy such interactive entertainment in one of the eighteen so-categorized industrialized (and rule-bound) nations.
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Judas is paraded around on a pole and set on fire. To the crowd’s delight he is stuffed with more fireworks and not only burns but blows to pieces.
What attributes does one associate with a Judas through lore and such experiences, I wonder. Somewhere deep down, does one learn that it is acceptable to deal with perceived “Judas” characteristics with fire and mayhem? It seems that lurking in the psyche, saved to file, there must lie a Burning of Judas model that colors perceptions and behavior.
But I wax philosophical. Maybe it is just a party. We did have fun—and I didn’t see anyone lose an eyebrow to a rocket.
This year the Burning of Judas took place at Patzcuaro’s Plazuela de San Francisco. Although I did not go this year, I have in years past. I enjoyed brilliant fireworks in the sky from my house.
The Burning of Judas takes place the evening of Easter Sunday.

Joyous Easter Sunday

Celebrating the Resurrection on Domingo de Páscua, clothes in dolorous black and purple give way to bright white and white accents. As the evening mass takes place in the Basílica with doors wide flung open to embrace worshippers, in the front courtyard spirits lift.
Spirits Rise

If I stand by the doors to the church, I can hear mass and merriment at the same time. In the courtyard, people gather and wait to form ranks to parade through the streets.
Finishing touches are added to the float for the procession that will go from La Basílica to the Templo de San Francisco.
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Viewing the front of this truck, I wonder if the driver needs a periscope.

Procession of Silence

On the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, the Procession of Silence, many blocks long, wound its solemn way through Pátzcuaro streets from the Templo de San Francisco to Plaza de la Basílica. The periodic single beat of a drum paced the deliberate walkers and from time to time the short, mournful wail of a trumpet pierced the evening air.
The participants made ready to start their march in the courtyard of the Templo de San Francisco.
The disquieting hooded figures are called the Hermanos Encapuchados (the Hooded Brothers). Lay men of the community are inducted into this group.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Viernes Santo

The main procession for Good Friday in Pátzcuaro was listed for 7:00 PM in the printed schedule of events, if one consults such things. Of course I knew that it would take place on Pátzcuaro time, not clock time. Even so, it was close to 8:00 pm before the solemn participants started trailing down from Plaza La Basílica toward Siete Esquinas. I wanted a good viewing point and, along with many other spectators, felt I had been sitting a very long time on the very hard curbside. Ouch. At that point I stood up, no longer needing to guard my little space to sit hip-to-hip.

The skies were a little cloudy and the sun very low, so the day had soon progressed well past twilight into night.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday in Pátzcuaro

Stations of the Cross (Way of Sorrows, Via Dolorosa or Via Crucis ) refers to the depiction of the final hours (the Passion) of Jesus and to the devotion commemorating the Passion. In Pátzcuaro residents of many different neighborhoods enacted living tableaux. The principal representation of the Via Crucis is the large, solemn procession through the pueblo.
At Calle Esperanza & Romero
Living persons are on the crosses.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Folk Art & Wares

Plaza Vasco de Quiroga, aka Plaza Grande, is full of color, crafts and wares in the Tianguis set up for Semana Santa. People from all over Mexico as well as from other countries enjoy perusing and purchasing items from the various booths. The restaurants all over Patzcuaro are full of people talking, laughing and eating. patz 004patz 009patz 010

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Our Lady of Sorrows

Yesterday Friday of Sorrows ushered in Semana Santa, the Holy Week preceding Easter, with a focus on Our Lady of Sorrows. Over the past week Patzcuarenses were busy preparing altars venerating this manifestation of the Virgin Mary. One can see that the faithful suffer strong mental and emotional anguish, to them real and part of their living present,  as they condole with the grief of Nuestra Señora de los Dolores for the pending crucifixion of her Son. This is a time of dolorous observance.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Rest in Peace – Que en Paz Descanse

Mexicans mock death with the unique catrinas, skulls and skeletons so often featured in folk art. These tombstones make a good complement.



(Photographer  unknown)

Live and play in Patzcuaro.