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Join in the Easter celebrations in Mexico City

Semana Santa Mexico
Mexico is a predominantly Roman Catholic, which means that Easter is a big deal in Mexico City. You’ll see in the period leading up to Semana Santa (Holy Week), people fasting for Lent and with ash crosses on their foreheads for Ash Wednesday. People gather with their families at home to celebrate during Semana Santa as kids and some workers have two weeks off from school.

This is effectively spring break for Mexicans and it also is the hottest and driest time of year throughout the country, so people like staying in the comfort of their homes and spending some quality time with the family. Don’t fret if you missed the Holy Week in Mexico City in 2020 due to the coronavirus epidemic, you can still plan to visit the next year 2021.  

The Holy Week runs from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday but the date of Easter changes every year since it is calculated based on the cycle of the moon and equinox. This year, it will be from 6th April to 12th April. During this week, Palm Sunday kicks things off, with locals making woven palms to commemorate the occasion. Usually, processions and passionate reenactments of the crucifixion of Christ take place all through the country, but this year-round, the celebrations will be limited to people’s immediate family. This is followed by Good Friday, which is a rather solemn event. This is a period of reverence of the sacrifice of Christ and people pay their respects by observing silent prayer or singing hymns. This is followed by the happy Easter Sunday, where the Easter Bunny comes to visit with chocolate eggs. People burst firecrackers, sing, dance, eat and make merry.

Mexican celebrations for Holy Week can also get pretty intense, with visceral re-enactments of the Passion of Christ. One of the most famous Palm Sunday Passion of the Christ rendition is in the southern Mexico City neighbourhood of Iztapalapa, where the tradition is taken incredibly seriously – they elect a ‘Jesus’ who then carries a large cross up the Cerro de la Estrella before being “crucified.” Some performers also act out self-flagellation. Participants take the dramatization very seriously and spend months preparing to take on the roles of Jesus, the Virgin Mary and the other supporting cast. The city streets are usually less crowded during this period as the laid back atmosphere means many locals choose to celebrate at home.

Though this year may not be an appropriate time to travel here, as many countries are imposing a travel ban due to the disastrous outbreak of coronavirus. You need to check beforehand with the respective government official sites before planning a trip or else you can always plan your visit to in the year 2021.

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