Celaya on the week of Palm Sunday

Excluding weddings or funerals, I am most likely to be found in church on Palm Sunday somewhere in Latin America. Celaya, in the state of Guanajuato, is an ideal place to spend that holiday. It has a neighborhood of big pretty churches near the zocalo. They open right out onto the street. Several of them are actually next door to each other and the schedule of masses is such that you can join one procession right after another and receive the blessing of “el domingo de ramos” several times on the same morning.

There is also a small market in the square that sells the woven palm leaves that are taken to church to be blessed. They range from small crosses to large, elaborate standards.  After mass, you can buy lunch as well. This time I had a gordita with nopales and pinto beans. This market is a little fancier than normal with pretty plates, bowls and serving vessels. There are oil cloth table cloths and flowers on the tables.

On the Friday befor Holy Week they have a lovely celebration in honor of Our Lady of Sorrows. Altars are set on the street outside the doors of peoples homes. There is usually a portrait of the Virgin, draped in purple and white, and displays of flowers and spring grasses. Refreshments, most often fruit ices, popcicles or ice creams are set out for passers-by. Families gather later for a big evening meal. At the home of Luis’ aunt we had little gorditas cooked on a comal that can be attached atop her gas range.

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