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Back You are here: Home Columns Columns Allyn Hunt Horses’ hooves cushioned so they made no noise on city cobblestones as solemnity and reflection marked Easter

Horses’ hooves cushioned so they made no noise on city cobblestones as solemnity and reflection marked Easter

Tomorrow is Domingo de Ramas, Palm Sunday, marking Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.

Jesus rode a burro – a donkey – into town, a mount symbolizing peace in Eastern nations; a leader arriving horseback would indicate a king set to conquer.  

Domingo de Ramas, like all Easter dates, is a moveable feast.  It is described by conventional interpretations of Jesus‘ life in the Gospels as a day of peaceful triumph.  An illusion of which his followers were soon dissuaded, the great dream replaced by terror, tears and death.

Cuaresma, the 40 days of Lent, began this year on Ash Wednesday, March 5, and ends tomorrow.  Once this was a solemn time, devoted to prayer, reflection and subdued daily conduct, particularly during Semana Santa, which commences next week. There are no weddings, or baptisms,  Each churchs’ images – statues – of Jesus, Mary, the Virgin of Guadalupe, revered saints are covered with manto de morado, a purple cloak.

At one time, Cuaresma tended to be a rather subdued stretch.  This was the case well into the 1960s, though not universal.  In contrast, local governments of President Enrique Peña Nieto’s “ruling party,” the historically autocratic Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) were selling “permisos” for mid-cuaresma commercial “fiestas” last week, abetting screechingly amplified music with an inclination to be off key and inane.  Music at soccer fields and similar public places means party time dancing, and plenty of booze.  But perhaps not much reflection.  Separation of church and state.  Of course.  But those politicians who granted these semi-costly permits also pose, if the occasion requires, as deeply religious.  However one may view this, it does not win great sympathy from most local practicing Catholics.   

Palm fronds woven into intricate and artful designs, often religious in some way, will  be sold tomorrow in church yards.  Traditionally these are blessed during the day’s Masses’ “Blessing of the Palms.”  Following ancient custom, once blessed in, these symbols are placed in a prominent location at home as ”holy assurance.”   At one time, when dangerous storms threatened, a small piece would be clipped off and burned, the “protective” smoke wafted into the air to “guard” the home.

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