Semana Santa – The Passion of Christ Begins

by Judy King 31. March 2010 22:46

diciple Jueves Santo (Maundy or Holy Thursday)
In some of Mexico's cities and villages, the faithful spend Holy Thursday visiting seven different churches to commemorate the seven stopping places of Christ between his arrest at Gethsemane and his crucifixion at Calvary. For some the custom has  expanded to meditate on one or two of the Stations of the Cross (Via del Cruces) in each church.

Ajijic's reenactment of the passion of Jesus continues on Thursday evening when Jesus and his disciples gather for their portrayal of the Last Supper, (7 p.m. Mass in the atrium of San Andrés.)

During this service one of the priests repeats the motions of Jesus by washing the feet of the disciples.


After Mass Jesus and his followers walk up onto the mountain to replicate the Biblical scene in the garden. Jesus retreats from the group to pray and returns to find his disciples asleep.

Meanwhile, the Roman soldiers have been mustering and preparing to go in search of Jesus. By the time they storm the mountain, it is dark in Ajijic and their progress up the mountain to find and arrest Jesus can be tracked from the village. The flames of the torches moving along the twisting paths looks like a serpent of fire curving up the hill.

Once Jesus has been arrested and the soldiers march him to the town plaza where he is taken to the courtyard of the chapel on the north side of the plaza which represents the court of the Sanhedrin. There he is placed into custody to await trial. To complete the prophecies, the spectators also witness the three betrayals of Christ by Peter, and hear the crowing of the cock.

The Bells are Silenced

With the arrest of Jesus, the church bells which normally chime every hour and quarter hour and announce several daily Masses are silenced. They will not ring again until the Saturday night end of the Easter Eve vigil when the resurrection of Christ is announced and celebrated.

Come back Friday, Saturday and Sunday for more Semana Santa and Pascua (Easter) activities and traditions.

Want to Know More? Here Are Links to Related Posts:

During the Thursday evening portrayal of the Biblical scenes, Peter denies his Master three times, and then the cock crows, fulfilling a prophecy. The Rooster has carried unhappy and unlucky connotations for centuries. You can learn more in  Mexico Superstitions: The Rooster

Sunday was Palm Sunday. Did you attend the joyous procession that traditionally begins the Ajijic Passion Play? Read more: Celebrating Palm Sunday

Mary, the mother of Jesus is called the Virgin of Dolores (the Virgin of Sorrows) as she appears during the Passion of Christ. She is remembered with home altars on the last Friday of Lent; as neighbors visit they say, “Has the Virgin Wept Here.” They are served limonada (limeade) or other slightly sour fruit drinks, sometimes with Chia seed to recall the bitter tears of a mother in pain. Read more in: The Feast of the Virgin of Dolores

Are you curious about the Message of the Bells on ordinary days? Take a look at the stories they tell in our blog post: Listen The Bells Have a Message



Judy King is publisher of Mexico Insights—Living at Lake Chapala, a monthly online magazine for people interested in Mexico's Lake Chapala region, in the state of Jalisco.

Judy, a 19-year resident of Ajijic on Lake Chapala's north shore, conducts weekly newcomer's seminars and shares her expertise about Mexico in her ezine at, and in the "Mexico Lindo" column of the Lake Chapala Review.

Judy also is a speaker for local organizations and visiting tour groups about the Lakeside area about Mexican customs and holidays.


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About Judy King

Judy King

Hi There — Welcome to my little corner of the world. I'm Judy King and I live in the centuries-old village of Ajijic on the north shore of Lake Chapala, Mexico's largest natural lake.

I've lived here full time since 1990, and... [ more ]

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