Passion Play at Tzintzuntzan

Passion Play at Tzintzuntzan

Between March 19 and April 22; Thursday and Friday before Easter
The Penitentes, or penitents, are a lay brotherhood of religious flagellants. In Mexico on Good Friday, they often participate in Passion plays dramatizing the events of the closing days in the life of Jesus. One of the most complete and colorful Passion plays is the one staged in Tzintzuntzan in the state of Michoacán. Performed in an olive grove near the church, the play begins at noon on the Thursday preceding Easter with a representation of the Last Supper and continues until midnight on Good Friday. The penitents wear black loincloths and face-coverings, lashing their own bare backs and wearing chains that bite into the flesh of their ankles. They carry heavy crosses in imitation of Jesus. In Passion plays elsewhere in Mexico, the penitents hold bundles of cacti on their shoulders while candles burn into the palms of their hands.
CONTACTS:
Mexico Tourism Board
21 E. 63rd St., Fl. 3
New York, NY 10021
800-446-3942 or 212-821-0314; fax: 212-821-0367
www.visitmexico.com
SOURCES:
DictFolkMyth-1984, p. 851
IntlThFolk-1979, p. 277
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