Actually, they began this past Saturday night and Sunday morning with the arrival of a sacred statue known as Senor de la Columna. He is a statue that is many hundreds of years old and is greatly revered by the people. The procession leaves from Atotonilco, walking on Saturday night and arrives at the top of Independencia street at dawn. The streets are covered with mandelas made with colored sawdust. Walls and doorways have palm fronds with tissue paper flowers in purple and white, the colors of the Easter season. This procession used to be small with few spectators. That is not the case anymore - even when its cold and it begins at dawn.
This Friday night, Viernes de Delores will be celebrated with altars decorated all over town along with more mandelas in courtyards along with large displays of fresh flowers. As the townspeople walk from street to street to see the altars, they are provided with refreshments near the fountains in San Miguel as well as at the
homes where the altars can be seen. Some are grand and others are simple but very, very meaningful to the families and the neighborhoods.
Today, the town was ramping up for the next ten days. People were scurrying around getting last minute family matters completed before school closes for Semana Santa and people begin to decorate the nichos, altars and streets in preparation for the hordes of people who will begin to descend on the town beginning Friday afternoon. Many will not leave until the evening of Easter Sunday. Ten days of processions and re-enactments.
Below are some of the altars of the Virgen from previous years.
This year, the Feast of San Jose, will also take place on the day after the Friday night event to honor the Virgen of Sorrows. The statue of St. Joseph will be carried up Cuesta de San Jose, near my home, to the church in his honor. Festivities will take place after the procession.
Then Sunday is Palm Sunday and two processions are held. One starts at Juarez Park with someone walking as Jesus with musicians, citizens and Roman soldiers. The procession that comes down Correo from the church up on Salida de Queretaro is a man riding on a burro as Jesus. Both are quite lovely to experience and see.
Monday is Benito Juarez Birthday - a legal holiday and we are all wondering if that will be the day they will have the Primavera Parade with the little children or not. It is the favorite parade of little kindergarteners dressed up as all kinds of creatures and flowers - bumble bees, lady bugs and flowers, etc. Precious beyond words. Another "not to be missed" experience.
Wednesday, all the processions begin and I will provide more information on Wednesday, Thursday Friday and Sunday in the next post.
If you are in San Miguel, try to walk throughout centro and the town to see all of the processions and parades. It is quite amazing. Whatever colonia you live in, there will be something to see!