The week leading up to Easter is important in many countries and cultures. However, Easter up in the U.S. is usually just a nice family dinner on Sunday, and an Easter egg hunt – lots of fun, but still only one day.
Of course, many people will go to church on Good Friday, and in Canada they add a day on Monday, but otherwise these days carry on, business like usual.
As is often the case, the Mexican Easter holidays are more “substantial.”
In Mexico, Easter is an entire week of holidays (Holy Week). Many people have the entire week off work. Of course, some people – especially those who work in tourism or restaurants – have to work not only regular hours, but overtime to accommodate everyone else’s holiday cheer!
What people do during these days varies greatly depending on their personal values, beliefs and finances. There are enough Mexicans who enjoy the time for travel and simple pleasures, or just to relax.
However, with Mexico’s strong Catholic roots, most people will include some religious activity, and many will dedicate the week to their faith. As happens in Canada and the U.S., at Easter (like at Christmas) many people who aren’t very dedicated to religion will go to church and participate in related activities – but probably in greater numbers and more passionately so (no pun intended!)
Holy Week includes the Palm Sunday processions, the Passion plays of Good Friday, in which people re-enact the story of Jesus’ death (which we’ll look at tomorrow), and going to mass really often. On Saturday, there’s a strange little tradition in Mexico City at least of throwing water on passers-by. I’m still not sure why they do this.
-by Thomas Lloyd