The children of San Miguel played a very significant role in the processions for Santa Semana.
Monday, March 31, 2008
And some were so young they seemed a little bewildered and unsure of what they were even participating in.
Other childern seemed quite at ease and almost as though they were young and minature personifications of the adults that they will soon become.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Most of the 300 or so churches in San Miguel are hundreds of years old. This is just gorgeous and the sort of architecture that will never be reproduced again as it is just to labor intensive and the material costs are astronomical.
The figures of Holy personages such as this one of Christ were so beautiful and lush, draped in lush colors of velvet, gilded with gold, and laid in bed of flowers.
Towards the end of Santa Semana, the San Miguel sun was searing. Here you see San Miguel citizens using umbrellas to get a respite from the sun. The streets were lined with people just like these folks, earnestly, sincerely, connecting with the ritualistic intent of the processions.
The re-enactment would not be complete without the thieves that were tried along with Christ. This many was followed by a Roman Centurion that would periodically flail him (hence the reddened back).
The endless display of passion, tradition, pageantry, and ritual was overwhelming as it flowed throughout the city of San Miguel throughout the Holy Week.
This is one of the numerous depictions of Christ that was featured in the San Miguel Santa Semana processions. This particular one, while beautiful in some ways, was also a little disturbing as the body seemed withered and the skin blackened, as though it was a mummy.
Monday, March 24, 2008
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Finally, the street is lined with two rows of at least a hundred mourners, beautifully dressed in black, each with a candle lantern, to escort Christ to his burial. I wish I could have captured an image of the coffin for you. It is very ornamental, weighing in at three tons, and is carried by thirty-six men.
The sun has gone down, so exposure times have lengthened and apertures have opened, so this is not as sharp an image as I would like, but you still get a sense for the procession.
I should have shown you this earlier, as this procession is bracketed (if you will) with Christ on the cross at the beginning, and Christ in a coffin at the end.
After a certain age, the women wore black, and sometimes, as a form of penitence, perilously tall stiletto heels while walking on the cobblestone roads.
The displays progressively grew in size and grandeur and the children were now young girls. All of the woman, young and old, in this procession were maiden.
Next comes a long column of beautiful and angelic little children in white with a purple sash. The adult women are dressed in black, heads covered in black lace mantillas and a peineta (ornamental comb).
The next and most spectacular procession of the week is also on Friday, in the evening. It is a painfully slow death dirge taking a couple of hours to cover a relatively short distance through town. This Holy Burial march begins with Christ on the cross, escorted by Roman Centurions and ends with Christ displayed in a glass coffin, ready for burial. The city streets are filled to the brim with spectators.
Friday, March 21, 2008
This standard-bearer presented an image of Christ on the cross with INRI inscribed by Pontius Pilate. INRI is an acronym of the Latin phrase IESVS·NAZARENVS·REX·IVDÆORVM, which translates to English as: "Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews". It appears in the New Testament of the Christian Bible in the Gospel of John (19:19).
Here we see the procession (the Sacred Encounter) after it has just left the re-enactement of Christ's judgement before Pontius Pilate (performed at the entrance of La Santa Escuela next to the Parroquia). Seemingly afloat upon a sea of people, you see Saint John, Mary Magdalene, Mary Cleofas, and Veronica (cleaned the sweat and blood from Christ's face).
The Friday noon Santa Semana procession here in San Miguel re-enacted the trial and sentencing of Christ. Here you see the Roman Centurion that lead the procession through the streets of San Miguel.
It was very powerful to see a large group people carrying crosses, wearing a crown of thorns, walking barefoot on the blazingly hot cobblestone road in the scorching sun.
Here is the midday procession that solemnly marched from the Parroquia and around the Jardin in San Miguel. This anda (bier) depicted Christ and the cross, carried on the shoulders of twenty-two men and accompanied brass lanterns on poles.
The seven major churches of San Miguel were open to the public yesterday. This was a lovely chapel within one of the churches. The images on the walls seemed reminiscent of Diego Rivera
All of the churches have been making preparations for the main series of processions that will be taking place today (Friday) for the Holy Week (Santa Semana). Here you see just a handful of the lanterns that lined the walls of this church.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
As Easter Sunday approaches, one finds more and more alters here in San Miguel. This one was in the Parque Benito Juárez.
Here is another San Miguel door. I continue to be amazed to find them so high above the street unless this a more of a terrace than a door.
Yet another example of these amazing older women in San Miguel. This woman was climbing the steep cobblestone hills and sure and steady pace.
The black paint at street level, the angular shadow, and the crisp lines of the window frame all come together for a graphic effect.
The marketplaces in San Miguel are fantastic - colorful, beautifully presented, and densely packed with products.
There are so many ways to look at the patterns and colors on these weathered walls in San Miguel. I would not be the least bit surprised if I saw this as a painting hanging on the wall at the SFMOMA.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
The advertisement for the 'El Ring' disco was so brightly colored it seem to almost leap off the shaded plaster wall.
The stone sidewalk, polished by millions of footsteps, glared the afternoon sun while the interior of this house was barely visible in the cool shadow of the interior.
Can you imagine all the daily activities that have passed in and out of this door since it was last painted... what a story this door could tell.
This San Miguel local impressed me with how fast she was moving and how warmly she was dressed, looking so 'matter of fact' while I was melting in the blazing midday sun.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
There are many reasons to be enamored with the doors of San Miguel, but one aspect in paticular, captivates my curiosity. How can a door, that is several feet above the ground, make any sense?
It is very common to see older women such as this wonderful looking petite lady. They may be moving a little slow, and carrying a substantial load, but they seem to say so much about life in Mexico.
The Jacaranda is a tropical and subtropical tree that can get up to 30 meters in height and is covered with purple-blue bloom at this time of year (March) in Mexico. The ground under the tree is sometimes blanket with fallen blooms. It can be quite spectacular.
The Oratorio in San Miguel is one of many fabulous churches found here. The doors on this 300 year old church are massive and truly impressive... telling the story time more than any other aspect of the church.
San Miguel is always a beautiful city, but it is even more lovely during certain holidays such as Santa Semana, when alters and other decorations adorn the churchs, shops and homes.