Festivals, Oaxaca life

Procession of Silence

P1050333
Photo credit: ©Jodi Fleming

Last night, being Good Friday, the main pedestrian street was lined with people for an annual tradition known as the Procesión del Silencio or the Procession of Silence. Now in its 28th year, the parade winds its way through the downtown streets of Oaxaca de Juarez, watched by thousands of people who line the route.
Easter – or semana santa is one of the largest and most important religious holidays in Mexico. 

Hundreds of people from all over Mexico visit Oaxaca de Juarez to take part in traditional celebrations in the cobblestoned UNESCO city. The parade is a solemn and important event, commemorating Jesus’ crucifixion and as such, even those watching are also asked to be silent – something that everyone present obeys and enforces (ask the girl who laughed loudly in the nearby bar).

P1050279
Photo credit: ©Jodi Fleming

The parade commenced at 7pm after an address and shared prayer to the assembled crowd from the local bishop. Marchers set off from the church of Carmen Alto and slowly wound their way through downtown streets to the zocalo before returning some hours later.

The parade is entirely done in silence, except for solemn banging of drums by the marchers. Penitents anonymous in hooded cowls walk barefoot, some dragging large heavy wooden crosses. As they come past you can hear the rasp of the bottom of the cross across the cobblestones, and although it is not a particularly hot night, some are already drenched in sweat.

P1050350
Photo credit: ©Jodi Fleming

Statues and large banners from some of Oaxaca’s churches are carried by parishioners, whilst other marchers re-enact other events – such as men carrying a large coffin, and women in mourning.

P1050305
Photo credit: ©Jodi Fleming

Churches, individuals and families had prepared for this procession for months, and children had wet-slicked hair and shirts tucked in, and parishioners were uniform in newly screen-printed shirts for the occasion.

Sunday, being the commemoration of the resurrection is a completely different event, one full of joy and laughter; but last night the atmosphere was one of shared silent sorrow and pain. After the parade had passed, people moved from their positions, and fell quietly into step to walk together into the evening.

 

Written by Jodi Fleming
Jodi has been volunteering for several months at En Via – you may meet her leading a tour to visit our women borrowers in the different communities surrounding Oaxaca

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s