The Tzotzil indigenous people of San Andrés Larráinzar, Chiapas state, Mexico, celebrated Good Friday with a representation of the traditional Stations of the Cross.
The celebration began with a procession of traditional religious authorities accompanied by various officials, including soldiers, the municipal authority, the church’s prosecutors, butler, catechists, priest, and 12 apostles.
Celebration of the Passion and Death of Christ
The indigenous peoples of Tzotzil and Tzeltal began the representation of the passion and death of Christ, which symbolizes their hope in Christ crucified. Joel Padrón, the parish priest in charge of the San Andrés Larráinzar church, stated that this celebration is a reflection of the people’s faith, pain, and hope.
The parade of the apostles and the church officials through the streets marked the beginning of Good Friday, and they entered the church of San Andrés, where they decorated the atrium with natural foliage.
Syncretism Among Native Peoples
The indigenous people of Mexico have a deep-rooted syncretism that is reflected in the worship of Catholic symbols and ancestral rituals. The celebration of Good Friday sees European festivities converging with native rituals.
The people venerate the images of the Virgin of Solitude, St. John, and the Crucified Christ with long hours of prayers and palm wreaths decorated with chamomile. These prayers are offered for the betterment of humanity, for health, and to eradicate violence among their indigenous people.
Holy Water and the Blood of Jesus Christ
During the celebration, the apostles and guardians offer holy water scented with chamomile flowers and white rose petals to the faithful. The people drink and sprinkle their bodies with the water, symbolizing the blood of Jesus Christ.
The Funeral Procession
In the afternoon, the Christ is taken down from the cross for the funeral procession. The Tzotzil Mayans walk through the streets of the municipality carrying religious images until they reach the atrium of the church.
The week’s celebrations are organized by elders, youth, and women, as well as traditional and constitutional authorities.
The Devotion of the People
Ignacio Lopez Gómez, the constitutional president of San Andrés Larrainzar, expressed that the people attend the event with great devotion. They ask for health and strength to carry out their activities, protection for their loved ones and everyone, and tranquillity for the people and the municipality.
The celebration of Good Friday is a reflection of the faith and hope of the Tzotzil indigenous people of Chiapas. The syncretism of the indigenous people is evident in their worship of Catholic symbols and ancestral rituals.
The people’s devotion to this celebration and their hopes for a better future are evident in their participation in the procession and offering of prayers.
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