In a predominantly Catholic nation like Mexico, the celebration of Holy Week means not only Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter, but a full week of feasts and festivities in local communities across the country. Here’s what you need to know about celebrating Holy Week in Mexico City.
When to Go
Holy Week (Semana Santa) begins on Palm Sunday and ends on Easter Sunday each year, typically in March or April. In Mexico, Holy Week is immediately followed by Pascua, a celebration of the resurrection and the start of spring. Since many Mexicans leave the city during the holiday, many museums and attractions are less crowded than other times of the year.
Where to Go
For an authentic local Holy Week experience in the region, head to the town of Iztapalapa just outside Mexico City. This small town spends months preparing elaborate costumes and sets for its annual Passion Plays. Those with a bit more time can venture a couple of hours outside the capital to the town of Taxco, where a traditional procession includes men carrying thorny branches on their backs. Those staying in the city should check out the Metropolitan Cathedral on Holy Thursday, when the space is decorated with flowers.
How to Go
The best way to get a taste of what Holy Week is like in Mexico is to take a tour to one of the small towns surrounding Mexico City during the festivities. Head to Taxco to celebrate Good Friday and watch a Passion Play, or hit the pavement on a walking tour of the cobbled streets of the San Angel neighborhood. Since Mexico City quiets down significantly during Holy Week, it’s also a great time for some sightseeing; consider a walking tour or a hop-on hop-off bus.