Oaxaca Silent Parade, Holy Week Oaxaca, Mexico
Oaxaca's Silent Parade occurs on Friday of Holy Week or Semana Santa, one of Oaxaca's most important religious festivals. The celebration combines the religion brought by the Spanish colonists in the 1520s with some of the lingering indigenous practices. From the European style churches, many built in the 1600s, parades and spectacles take place in the preserved colonial center of the city, an area of colonial buildings and churches.
Oaxaca stands unique among world cities because of its thriving indigenous population, 11 or so languages still spoken within the mountainous state and the many ancient rituals still practiced. This combining of the colonial Spanish, modern European, and indigenous culture gives Oaxaca a flair for art and spectacle unique in the world.
Oaxaca is surrounded by 10,000 foot mountains. The city was built in a valley at 5000 feet and the surrounding mountains have isolated the villages somewhat and perpetuated the speaking of the ancient languages and the practice of the old customs.
Oaxaca Bus Service now connects the city with nearly every village and provides a way for the people of the mountains to visit the city for regional festivals.
The bus service also serves visitors to Oaxaca for travel to the remote places.
In the more remote villages the bus will make one trip over the mountain roads to the village and park for the night, and return to Oaxaca City the following day. Most of the villages in the mountains offer lodging for visitors.
An important event in the life of Oaxaca is the Day Of The Dead ritual. Actually two or three Days of the Dead but the action takes place at night in the cemeteries of the villages and in the Panteon General in the city. Usually starting on the last day of October and lasting for two nightly vigils in the cemeteries as families clean and decorate their family plots and tombs in anticipation of the return of the spirits.
Only in Oaxaca can one find this unique competition in the carving of huge radishes to create exorbitant sculptures that go on display in the Zocalo on December 23 and are judged for money prizes. The stakes are big and some of Oaxaca's best artists and artisans will compete by making incredible carvings and sculptures done with the lowly radish.
- Oaxaca's Night of the Radishes:
Oaxaca City hosts many visitors during December and Christmas Week. Several Virgin's days are celebrated on December 8th: Guadeloupe,Juquila, and Soledad. Festivals continue right up until the three Kings in January.
on the Friday before
Easter a silent
the streets re-enacts
the carrying of the
cross by Christ.
Church officials and police block several of the historic center for the parade which includes the passage of statues taken from the churches.
Oaxaca Silent Parade during Holy Week in Oaxaca, Mexico is part of Oaxaca's most important holiday which includes cultural events that herald in Easter. The Silent Parade on Good Friday offers a blend of European Christian pageantry with local touches.
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Oaxaca Semana Santa, Good Friday Silent Parade
The start of the Silent Parade on the Friday before Easter
The statues are brought from the churches for the start of the Silent Parade on the Friday before Easter