Easter in Mexico is one of the most important religious holidays of the year. Did you know that many consider it to be more important than Christmas?! That’s because Easter is regarded as such a defining moment in history within the Catholic faith. In fact, Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Estadistica y Geographia (INEGI) reports that almost 90 percent of Mexicans practice Catholicism. Hence, Easter’s importance within the country.
What many don’t realize is just how early the Easter holiday starts south of the boarder. Traditions begin the week leading up to Easter Sunday, a time that is known in Mexico as Semana Santa (Holy Week). It starts on Palm Sunday (known as Domingo de Ramos) and runs until the following Easter Sunday (Domingo de Pascua). However, many school children have two weeks off during this time, so both the week before and the week after often are said to make up the Semana Santa holiday celebrations. Lucky them!
This two-week break often coincides with a Spring Break holiday for the many younger residents of Mexico. Like many American students celebrating their own Spring Break, many Mexicans head to the beach at this time. Have a trip planned to Mexico during this time? Be prepared to find yourself one of many crowding the country’s gorgeous beaches the weeks before and after Easter.
Contrary to what you might expect, you won’t see or hear any mention of the Easter Bunny in Mexico during the Easter season either.
Why? It detracts from the real reason for the celebrations: Jesus. Mexicans celebrate Holy Week starting on Palm Sunday with a parade of a man portraying Jesus riding a donkey through town as residents strew his path with palm fronds. This spectacle commemorates Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem the Sunday before his crucifixion – an iconic moment in history honored by faithful Catholics.
Other popular, symbolic traditions include Maundy Thursday, a day that is celebrated with foot-washing ceremonies (to commemorate Jesus’ washing the feet of his apostles), as well as visiting up to seven churches.
Despite what the name may imply, Good Friday is the most somber of the celebrations. It’s a day filled with processions throughout many Mexican cities and towns in which Jesus can be seen carrying his cross to his crucifixion. Passion plays, which depict the actual crucifixion, are also often produced in towns throughout the country.
Easter itself is celebrated more quietly than in the United States – no Easter Bunny and his baskets of candy. Instead, most of Mexico gathers with their entire family and starts the day by heading to Mass. Some cities, however, do celebrate later in the day with fireworks and parades with music and dancing, but this varies by region and community.
Looking for a family-friendly Tex-Mex restaurant in Dallas to celebrate Easter Sunday with your loved ones? Visit one of our many Mattito’s locations during your Spring Break to enjoy the best Tex Mex cuisine in the North Dallas.
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