The creation of symbol-filled altars dedicated to La Virgen de Dolores (the Virgin of Sorrows) has served as a traditional prelude to Holy Week for generations of families native to Guadalajara and Western Mexico.
Observed exactly seven days prior to Good Friday, the custom of honoring La Dolorosa (the Sorrowful Mother) with special devotions and elaborate shrines was brought to Mexico in the 16th century by Spanish Franciscan friars. Often called incendios in reference to the large number of candles used to illuminate the displays, the altars are centered around a morose image of the Virgin Mary and usually set before a backdrop draped with paper cutouts or swaths of fabric. Predominate colors are deep purple and white – symbolizing mourning and purity.
A traditional Altar de Dolores display opens at Guadalajara’s Museo de la Ciudad Friday, March 18, 6 p.m. A recital featuring the Coro Clasico de Guadalajara interpreting Rossini’s “Stabat Mater” follows at 7 p.m. The display will be up throughout the weekend. The Museo de la Ciudad is at Calle Independencia 684, in the city center. Open Tuesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Call 1201-8712 for more information.
Other Guadalajara venues that will mount altars this weekend include the Casa Iteso Clavigero (José Guadalupe Zuno 2083, 3615-8347) and the Museo de las Artes Populares (San Felipe 211, 3030-9779).