Holy Week is based on the lunar phases, so this year 2022 begins on Sunday, April 10, with the so-called Palm Sunday and ends on April 17, with Easter Sunday.
Holy Week is celebrated on the first Sunday of the full moon after the spring equinox, which this year occurred on Sunday, March 20.
The significant dates of Lent and Easter this year are:
- Ash Wednesday March 2
Palm Sunday April 10
Holy Thursday April 14
Good Friday April 15
Saturday of Glory April 16
Easter Sunday April 17
The first week (the week leading up to Easter) is called Semana Santa or Holy Week in Mexico, and the second week (the week following Easter) is called Semana de Pascua. Easter is a wonderful time to visit Mexico and see all the elaborate celebrations first-hand.
Across the country, Mexicans celebrate the last days of Christ during Holy Week with elaborate and much anticipated processions, ceremonies, and rituals.
Most of the larger Semana Santa celebrations include a dramatic reenactment of the capture, the trial, and the crucifixion of Jesus.
The religious processions are the main part of Semana Santa. These go on all week and consist of many people parading through the streets in colourful costumes, carrying huge floats, and mourning the death of Christ.
Holy Week in Mexico is an important religious observance as well as important vacation period. It is preceded by several observances such as Lent and Carnival, as well as an observance of a day dedicated to the Virgin of the Sorrows, as well as a Mass marking the abandonment of Jesus by the disciples.
In some of the more devout regions of Mexico like Taxco, the reenactments include penitentes – men and women who show their penitence and prove their faith by inflicting physical pain on their bodies by whipping themselves.
Traveling to Mexico for Semana Santa and Pascua is an unforgettable experience, but can be tricky to plan logistically – especially last minute as the traditional areas of celebration and most beach destinations are usually booked in advance.