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Semana Santa, Tzintzuntzan, Mexico | by shadowplay
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Semana Santa, Tzintzuntzan, Mexico

Semana Santa (Holy Week) started this week once again in its ancient, timeless tradition in a little village called Tzintzuntzan in the Central Highlands of Michoacan, near Patzcuaro, Mexico. Three times in the last fifteen years I have gone to Tzintzuntzan to document their Semana Santa (but also because I always loved being in the church square with its ancient olive trees, to just sit there during the week and just to observe what happens). The week is filled with mysterious rituals and processions (complete with crimson hooded horsemen entering the church on horseback) that have much to do with the grafting of Catholicism to ancient Tarascan culture. Central to the week are the parades of penitents lead by seven massive crosses which have been entrusted to seven families for several hundred years. During Holy Week the crosses are taken from storage in the homes and paraded repeatedly, with great ceremony, through the village. On Good Friday, the seven crosses are arranged in front of the entrance to the church and as in villages all over Mexico the Passion Play is performed. It is said that as recently as the 1970's, in a village in the mountains near Tzintzuntzan, penitents had themselves crucified with thin nails....


[All this week I am alternating posting images of Tzintzuntzan with images I took this Sunday of rehearsals of The Passion Play for Easter Sunday Sunrise Services in Agua Dulce, which is my primary home,.....somehow it is not the same.]


[and.....despite the seductive pageantry and truly felt passion and penitence (certainly in Tzintzuntzan) I confess with Bertrand Russell "Why I am Not a Christian"....that is, I am intrigued but not seduced by the "Passion of the Christ"]]


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Taken on April 12, 2006