Holy Week starts Sunday, March 25th, Palm Sunday, with a small preview of the Passion Play as the scene of Jesus riding the donkey into town will be re-enacted with a large procession between 6 Corners and the San Andres church, past the plaza at 6:30pm. The street will be strewn with alfalfa (rather than palm fronds) and bougainvillea petals to honor the coming of Jesus. Please respect the tradition and do not walk on these special devotional decorations.
That day will also feature a fund-raising food fiesta in the plaza where you can buy unique fiesta foods, including the wonderful ponche de guayaba, and have a lovely, early dinner in the plaza before the lovely outdoor, sunset Mass at 7pm at the San Andres Church, if you like. There will be seating for around 1000 people.
Thursday evening. Maudy Thursday, March 29th the Passion Play will feature scenes of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane , staged in upper Ajijic in the hills at Calle Tempisque. There is no seating, only standing room. The Roman soldiers will come and take the Jesus character away, and a torch-lit procession proceeds down to the chapel in Ajijic, via calle Emiliano Zapata to Colon, for the final scenes that night.
The biggest day of the Passion Play is Good Friday on March 30th, at 11am, where there will be a huge crowd at the Church for the final trial of Jesus and the procession leading up to the Crucifixion of Jesus through upper Ajijic via Calles Parroquia, Hidalgo, Juarez, Angel Flores, hasta el pie del cerro. Returning via Calle Emiliano Zapata, Colon, Parroquia to the interior of the church.The next 24 hours are a solemn time for observant Christians, which is most of the village, so please respect this tradition.
Saturday night, the 31st, there will be a late Mass and Easter service at 8pm,which features a beautiful Resurrection Scene. At the end of the Mass, there will be pealing church bells, fireworks and celebrating both in the Plaza and at family homes. In True Mexican Tradition, the Big Day is really the night before, like Christmas, and Sunday will be a quiet day of rest for most of the people, many of whom will continue with their vacation break for the next week.
Easter on April 1st begins the exodus of the northern seasonal visitors, as the weather heats up and things calm down, and we full-time residents look forward to the refreshing coolness and tranquility of the upcoming rainy season.
I never fail to be awed by the love, devotion, and creativity put into all these fiestas, which are an essential part of Mexican culture, unseen by most of the foreign visitors. Please come out and enjoy these rich and enjoyable events that are so meaningful on so many levels. The spirit of fun is off the Richter Scale here in Mexico.