|Peter leading Jesus down Calle Hidalgo on the way to San Andrés church,|
Domingo de Ramos--Palm Sunday.
|The Last Supper re-enacted in front of the bicycle repair shop at Seis Esquinas.|
Their next appearance was on Jueves Santo, Maundy Thursday. Both the faithful and interested bystanders began gathering in the early evening to witness an enactment of the Last Supper, again at Seís Equinas barrio—the most traditionally Mexican area of the village. Some of the scenes brought back memories from long ago bible study—Jesus washing the apostles’ feet, calling out Judas and Peter, everyone performing the first Eucharist by eating the bread and drinking the wine representing the body and blood of Christ.
|Torchlit procession uphill to Tempisque. Handlers moved ropes|
to create space around the actors.
Jesus and several of the more involved apostles were miked just like Broadway actors. After supper the less involved were given torches and they all set off at a blistering pace through the dark cobblestone streets, across the carretera, and up Tempisque to the Jardín de Getsemaní set, near the base of a large, fairly recently constructed microwave tower. Many of us trying to take photographs stumbled to get ahead of the actors, grumbling about their pace and the lack of enough light to get decent pictures.
|The way back downhill was lit by torches as well. Vecinos |
stood outside their casas waiting for Jesus to be escorted by.
It took quite a while for the sound system to get set up (so what was the rush?), and the fifty meter or so distance between audience and actors made for a less than ideal theatrical experience. But who’s to argue when such momentous events are being depicted?: Simon Peter disowning Christ, and Judas betraying Him, His arrest by the Roman troops, and then everyone’s march back down the hill into town for his arraignment at the plaza.
The next day was Viernes Santo, or Good Friday. This featured the only event which I had previously seen—Jesus’s trial before Pontius Pilate. It seems churlish in light of the suffering of our actors, not to mention the original cast, but I chose not to endure the noonday heat in the crowded church courtyard, and missed Jesus’s flagellation and struggle to carry the cross back up to the base of Tempisque’s tower, now representing the path of the Stations of the Cross on the way to Golgotha.
|Jesus dragged his cross over this and many more cobbled|
streets, the mile-long route distinguished by colored banners.
By the time I made it up the hill a large crowd had gathered favoring the scant shade from walls or nearly leafless trees or gathered under numerous parasols (literally, in Spanish, “for the sun”). Drink and ice cream vendors were popular. On stage, which means up the hillside, Roman soldiers in faux leather armor looked awfully hot, but Christ and the bad hombres on either side of Him must have been miserable. They were tied to crosses facing the harsh midday sun. I was feeling the heat myself and made my cowardly way back home before the event was over.
|Spectators at the crucification re-enactment angled for shade.|
It was much more comfortable the next evening, Sábado de Gloria. A crowd was seated in the church courtyard waiting for a representation of the resurrection, but I opted to join the more secular folks listening to mariachi music around the plaza’s gazebo. When the music was over I wandered over to the courtyard and stood in back. The faithful were lighting their candles. It was a peaceful and moving scene.
Today is Easter, Pascua here in Mexico. No dyed and hidden eggs, baskets to put them in, or Cadbury chocolates to be missed by the seekers and not found until the slugs had gotten to them. No Easter Bunny, even. It’s a quiet day mostly spent at home with family.
|Saturday night the faithful gathered in the church courtyard to celebrate the resurrection of Christ.|