Holy Week — from Palm Sunday through Easter Sunday — is observed throughout Mexico. However San Miguel de Allende’s fervor and pageantry are some of the most powerful and beautiful.
The image of El Señor de la Columna is carried in a procession from Atotonilco on the Sunday before Palm Sunday, and visits churches in San Miguel from the church of San Juan de Dios, where the image is kept until Wednesday of Easter week when it is carried back to Atotonilco.
The Friday before Holy Week is dedicated Our Lady of Sorrows, with altars set up in homes, gardens and public spaces.
Good Friday is especially poignant. In the morning, the image of El Señor de la Columna is carried to the parish church on the plaza, accompanied by townspeople dressed as Jesus’ disciples and Roman centurions. At noon, images of the Holy Family, the disciples, Mary Magdalene and John the Baptist are carried through town on palanquins and a passion play is performed by fervent believers. The town is mostly silent until dark, when the images are again carried through the streets, this time draped in black. Crowds of silent mourners, dressed in black, accompany the statues with measured drumbeats marking the compass.
In her extraordinary book Tears from the Crown of Thorns, Charlotte Bell beautifully documented the Good Friday procession over a period of six years, beginning in 1998.
More than thirty years earlier, Don Fyfe Wilson took these eloquent photographs of San Miguel’s Good Friday celebrations. We are privileged to share them with you.