Thursday, April 14, 2022

El Via Cruces Procession in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico: April 13, 2022


This morning Dan and I used the early morning to wander around San Miguel de Allende (SMA). We left Hotel la Aldea even before coffee. Their restaurant doesn't open until at least 8:30am and sometimes not even then. When I asked the desk clerk about the availability of coffee, he opened his cupboard and showed me the jar of Nescafe. I declined, and we headed out to photograph some of SMA before meeting up with Michael Amici, our photography instructor, for a photo critique.

SMA mornings are lovely and fresh. People are jogging in the many parks, dog walkers are doing what they do, nesting egrets exchange gossip, and best of all not many cars are parked on the streets. 

Life-sized statues and bundles of flowers were delivered to churches. Building facades were getting last minute repairs. Semana Santa hasn't been publicly celebrated in SMA since the Covid-19 pandemic began in March 2020.







Mid afternoon we met Michael at the Oratorio which is where the El Via Cruces (Stations of the Crosses) procession was staging. Michael talked our way into the corridor where "angels" and "flower girls" were putting the last minute touches on their costumes. Flower girls carry baskets of chamomile that they spread on the pavement. The angels carry some of the accoutrements connected with the crucifixion such as: dice (the Roman soldiers rolled dice to see which of them would get Jesus' robe), hammer and nails, a chalice, a cock (as it relates to Peter denying Christ 3 times before the cock crowed), the crown of thorns, etc.


Inside the Temple of the Oratorio de San Filipe Neri the groups carrying the statues on flowered covered platforms took their places.


A couple of late arriving Roman guards rushed in and the procession began.


The angels took their positions at the front of the procession followed by the flower girls who would spread chamomile along the route in front of the statues of Jesus, the Virgin Mary (Our Lady of Solitude), and possibly a local saint.



Local residents joined in the procession singing as they went
Our Lady of Solitude

There were many stations of the cross at which the procession stopped along the route. At each stop, clergy held a brief service.



One of the stops was a nativity scene with children swathed in colorful fabrics. The road and sidewalk around the nativity were thickly carpeted with chamomile, and most of the kids (except for the boy front right who looks like Dan) did a good job of staying in character.




At the last station, a longer service was held and each person kneeled in reverence on the cobblestone road.


The group carrying Jesus and the cross continued to up the steep road to the end before turning to head downhill and back to the Oratorio.


The children from the nativity and the other groups from the procession fell into their places for the return.


About 1-1/2 hours elapsed from when the angels took their positions in front of the Oratorio to the time when the procession turned back. The sun was intense, and I'm sure everyone's feet were tired from standing in one place for so long. 


The fragrance of crushed chamomile lingered still.

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