Easter is the time to rejoice, enjoy and make merry, as it marks the beginning of the spring season after the end of the Lent period. Easter is celebrated throughout the world by the Christian community to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The festival is welcomed with immense joy, happiness and magnificence. Mexico has a variety of traditional customs and religious practices for celebrating Easter. Thousands of churches in Mexico are packed with celebrants on this holy day to honor Christ. The church bells are rung with joyous fervor.
Easter is known as 'Domingo de Pascua' in Mexico. 'Semana Santa' and 'Pascua' (two separate observances) form a part of Easter celebrations in Mexico. 'Semana Santa''stands for the entire Holy Week - right from Palm Sunday to Easter Saturday, whereas 'Pascua' is observed for the period from the Resurrection Sunday to the following Saturday. Easter bunnies and jelly beans are not very common in Mexican Easter celebrations, as people are busy attending church masses. A special mass is held on Maudy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday.
The Easter season in Mexico begins with the carnival in Mazatlán. This carnival is the third largest carnival celebration in the world, after Rio de Janeiro and New Orleans. Vacations are quite prevalent in Mexico, as it is festival time and the entire week is off. Offices and schools are shut down for two weeks, that is, a week before Easter and a week after Easter. Most of the government offices and banks are closed with only offices catering to tourism being open. Even the isolated beach destinations are flooded with large families of campers and day-trippers. Almost every major tourist destination is booked by the locals.
In many communities, plays related to the events of Christ's life, right from His arrival in Jerusalem to His crucifixion and resurrection, are enacted on Holy Thursday and Good Friday. In some communities, even real crucifixion is included. All these enactments are performed by professional enthusiastic actors. The participants taking part in these enactments prepare for their roles for the entire year. To view the most popular dramatic representation of the Passion, it is best to visit Iztapalapa, located on the east side of the Mexico City.
Procesión de Silencio, a silent procession is carried out in some cities of Mexico. Herein, people march down the streets holding candle lights in silence. Another spectacular tradition followed on Easter in Mexico is the burning of a Judas effigy filled with firecrackers. Though this custom was outlawed in the 1960s when thousands died due to a massive explosion, it is still followed in rural areas. Red meat is forbidden during the Lent period, however seafood is permitted. A popular food called nopal (a type of cactus with flat leaves) is prepared with salads, shrimp, eggs or tacos. Romeritos is another vegetable consumed during Lent which is prepared with whole shrimp with a touch of chili sauce or powder.
In Mexico, Easter plays related with life of Jesus are enacted on Easter along with Semana Santa and Pascua observances.