Easter in San Miguel de Allende – Semana Santa in Mexico Travel Blog

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Easter in Mexico 2020: Semana Santa in Mexico is an interesting experience, and San Miguel de Allende is a great place to soak it in. In a predominantly Catholic country like Mexico, Semana Santa — or “Holy Week,” — is one of the most sacred times of the year. There are Easter traditions and celebrations all over the country. However, one of the most interesting places to experience Semana Santa in Mexico is its geographical (and cultural) heart.

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Easter in San Miguel de Allende

The people of San Miguel de Allende take Semana Santa very seriously. It’s one of the biggest religious festivals in Mexico and the devotion and passion on display is a fascinating thing to witness. In fact, people from all over the country spend Easter in San Miguel de Allende. That’s why I’ll use this post to run through a few of the events that take place during Holy Week in San Miguel de Allende and why it’s one of the most well-loved Mexican holidays. In addition, I’ll talk about why it’s one of the best places to experience Semana Santa in Mexico.

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Semana Santa in Mexico

_In front of exploding Judases.

_explosion. exploding judas.

You don’t have to be a believer to appreciate Holy Week in Mexico. It’s a beautiful time to be in the country and full of fascinating Mexican traditions. Semana Santa of the most important week of festivals in Mexico for the faithful, but there are lots of things to do regardless of religion. 

What’s more, it’s a beautiful time to visit Mexico. Spring is arriving, the Jacaranda trees are an explosion of purple blooms (it reminds me a little of hanami season in Japan). Spring weather in Mexico is warm and sunny, but with the same cool breezes that you get from high-altitude living. (San Miguel de Allende is 1,900 meters above sea level — that’s 300 meters higher than Denver, the “Mile-High City”).

Cascarones

_cascarones. Easter in San Miguel de Allende - Semana Santa in Mexico

San Miguel de Allende is the best place to experience Semana Santa in Mexico. But before I explain why, let’s give a little shout-out to the Mexican tradition called Cascarones. These are a big part of Mexican Holy Week, and you’ll find them in any place with large Mexican populations. Cascarones are eggshells with the yolks & eggwhites removed. The shells are cleaned, colored and filled with glitter or other fun stuff like little toys.

What do you do with a confetti-filled eggshell? You smash it over someone’s head, of course. Cascarones are so much fun that they’ve moved beyond Easter and into other Mexican celebrations as well. You may see them at Mexican weddings, birthdays, or even the Dia de Los Muertos festivals in Mexico.

Easter in SMA: The Best Semana Santa in Mexico

_white and purple flags Easter in San Miguel de Allende

purple and white decorations_Easter in San Miguel de Allende - Semana Santa in Mexico

How is Semana Santa celebrated in SMA? Well, Mexican Easter proceedings get started earlier in San Miguel de Allende than most of the country. Semana Santa in Mexico should last a week. In SMA, however, it starts several days earlier, when a statue of Jesus is carried on foot from a village several miles away.

Thousands of people follow the statue all the way, sometimes helping to carry it themselves. White and purple designs adorn San Miguel de Allende at Easter. For example, there are white and purple flowers on the walls of homes and shops. In addition, intricately decorated white and purple flags adorn the roads. Many homes set up alters during this time, and we’ve heard that this is a must-see for Semana Santa in Mexico. 

Palm Sunday in San Miguel de Allende: Semana Santa en Mexico

Palm Sunday in San Miguel de Allende Mexico.

Palm Sunday in San Miguel de Allende Mexico 2 - Semana Santa in Mexico

Easter week officially begins with Palm Sunday. This is when Catholics and other Christians commemorate Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey. Among other Mexican Easter traditions, , locals sell palm leaves in many folded patterns. At around 11 am, a procession leaves the Parroquia — the beautiful pink gothic cathedral that is the centerpiece of San Miguel de Allende. The star of the procession is a statue of Jesus on the donkey carried by believers. Along the street are palm fronds in various shapes and sizes. Angelitos — children dressed as angels —walk ahead of the procession sprinkling the ground with chamomile, fragrant herbs and flowers.

[Palm Sunday photos courtesy of Pati Goodell of the Meandering Family]

Good Friday in San Miguel de Allende: Semana Santa in Mexico

_Mary. Easter in San Miguel de Allende -

_angelitos. Easter in San Miguel de Allende - Semana Santa in Mexico

I’m going to skip over the mid-week Easter events in the city. They do play an important role in Semana Santa in Mexico. That said, we didn’t see them and I want to get to the spectacle of Good Friday and Easter Sunday in San Miguel de Allende. Good Friday is often called the “most somber day of Semana Santa in Mexico,” and for good reason. This is the day that represents Jesus’s trial, crucifixion, and death. For this, the participants spare no details.

There are no fireworks or church bells today. Only silence. At around noon, a procession begins from the Parroquia. Led by teams of parishioners wearing crowns of thorns, true believers carry huge statues of Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and others. These statues are massive, and they carry them on their shoulders.

_Romans. Easter in San Miguel de Allende

_purple & skulls. Easter in San Miguel de Allende - Semana Santa in Mexico

Men dressed as Roman soldiers march solemnly by pushing those set to be crucified forward as they whip them. Then come men, women, and children in purple robes, carrying skulls and crosses. No one in the parade speaks. No one says a word, and it is powerful.

The Exploding Judas: The Best Part of Semana Santa in Mexico

_judas pinata_Easter in San Miguel de Allende

Now let’s move on to my favorite Mexican tradition seen during Semana Santa in San Miguel de Allende: the exploding Judas statues. This is what makes SMA the best place to experience Semana Santa in Mexico. As you may know, Judas was one of the twelve disciples of Jesus. Yet he betrayed Jesus and turned him over to the Romans, which led to his death.

On Easter Sunday afternoon, San Miguel de Allende has a little tradition to get revenge on the Bible’s most famous traitor. Over a dozen paper-mache statues hang above on the south side of the town square. These pinata-style figures are adorned with fireworks and rockets. They’re also stuffed with explosives. Originally, these figures always represented Judas himself. Nowadays, many of these effigies resemble more modern personalities. Some looked like witches. Others resembled any number of despised politicians.

Boom Goes the Judas

_exploding judas 4-pic.

As the church bells ring, someone lights the fuse of the first figure. It spins and pops twice. On the third spin, it explodes in a colorful riot of cardboard and colored paper. Then they light the fuse of the next figure. And then the next. This goes on for over an hour.

_pieces hands heads. Easter in San Miguel de Allende - Semana Santa in Mexico

By the end, the street is a rainbow-colored disaster area. You’ll see arms and legs strewn here and there, and clouds of colored shreds float in the breeze. Kids and adults run to the scrap heap to salvage and hand or head.

Another Year, Another Semana Santa in Mexico

_easter procession. Easter in San Miguel de Allende - Semana Santa in Mexico

And so ends another Semana Santa in Mexico. San Miguel de Allende is known as a place with many Mexican festivals, but Easter week in SMA is one of the biggest and most important festivals the city has to offer. Have you experienced Semana Santa in Mexico? Or Semana Santa in Spain, the Philippines or elsewhere? How does it compare?

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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means, at no extra cost to you,  we might receive a small commission if you make a purchase or book using those links. My opinions are my own and I only recommend places/services that I believe will genuinely help you enjoy Semana Santa in Mexico. Have you been to San Miguel de Allende Mexico? Tell us about it!

Photo Credits via Creative Commons CC BY or other Royalty-free image sites. Some images may have been altered slightly via cropping or color enhancement: #4,

Comments

  1. Sharon Rausch says

    I found your blog by chance. It’s amazing. Thank you so much.

  2. its lovely destination seriously