Celebrating Semana Santa in Puerto Vallarta
April 12, 2011
To read the original article click here
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico -
Easter, known as Semana Santa, is the most celebrated holiday in México, and a time of national vacation and “spring break” from schools.
Tourism authorities estimate that one out of every five Mexicans – around 20 million people – will travel during Holy Week, and Puerto Vallarta is one of the most popular beach destinations for nationals looking for a few days of fun-in-the-sun.
Every year thousands of exuberant Mexicans intent on having a good time will flock to Puerto Vallarta and the beaches of Banderas Bay. Area hotels are at peak capacity, streets are overrun with cars and buses, and Playa Los Muertos fills with tents and sleeping bags during the two celebratory weeks of Semana Santa and Semana de Pascua.
Semana Santa (Holy Week) celebrates the last days of Jesus Christ’s life. This year, the week-long celebration begins on April 17 with Domingo de Ramos (Palm Sunday), the day of Christ’s Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. On Domingo de Ramos, vendors outside churches sell woven palm leaves, and inside the priest blesses them.
The Last Supper was held on Jueves Santo (Maundy Thursday), which falls on April 21 this year, followed by Viernes Santo (Good Friday), which commemorates the day of Christ’s crucifixion.
On April 23, Mexico celebrates Sábado de Gloria (Holy Saturday), memorializing the full day Christ was in the tomb. On Sabado de Gloria, statues of Mary are covered with black dresses, because she is considered to be in mourning. April 24th is Domingo de Pascua (Easter Sunday), celebrating the Resurrection of Christ. On Jueves Santo, Viernes Santo, Sabado de Gloria, and Domingo de Pascua, there is a special mass each day.
One of the oldest traditions in México, Semana Santa is an artistic and cultural event of major importance, with everyone – young and old, children and parents, rich and poor – actively participating in the celebrations.
But Semana Santa is much more than a religious occasion. In fact, hundreds of people who come to Puerto Vallarta to celebrate Easter Week are not even Catholic. Like all holidays in Latin countries, Semana Santa is also a festive occasion, a time of celebration that lasts two weeks, when people come together to socialize and enjoy themselves.
The week following Easter Sunday is called Pascua, which is the celebration of the Resurrection. Pascua marks the release from the sacrifices of Lent . . . and Vallarta goes into full-on party mode! The beaches are bursting, the streets are jammed, and the Malecón is filled with people enjoying food, fireworks, and live entertainment.
While it may sound a bit chaotic, Semana Santa and Pascua are probably some of the most festive and exciting times to visit Puerto Vallarta. If you wish to witness the beauty of traditional Mexican culture – and enjoy the excitement of a two-week-long party in Puerto Vallarta – Semana Santa and Pascua would be well worth experiencing for yourself.
Editors Note: As we begin the Semana Santa/Semana Pascua holidays, the need for blood in Puerto Vallarta increases significantly. Please consider giving the Gift of Life, keeping in mind that donation requirements in Mexico are different than in the United States and Canada. For more information, click HERE.