Welcome to Holy Week — Semana Santa in Mexico, a mysterious and magical experience for anyone who is religious or not. Today is Maundy Thursday in the Zapotec village of Teotitlan del Valle about 40 minutes outside Oaxaca city off the road to Tlacolula de Matamoros. Catholic and indigenous beliefs merge here into what cultural anthropologists refer to as syncretism.
For example, Maundy Thursday celebrates the Last Supper when Jesus and his followers gathered for a Passover seder the night before the crucifixion.
My friends tell me that the entire village will gather in the church courtyard to celebrate Cena de los Apostales. Reports are that the starting time is 11 a.m. but it could also happen at 10 a.m. Time here is not fixed — an ancient pre-Hispanic practice of “Whoever controls time controls the world.”
So this is not an evening event that happens at sundown in the ancient Jewish tradition. Here The Last Supper happens early in the day. Why? Quien sabe!
So you might want to get here early. There will be the symbolic foot washing ceremony and then all gathered will eat — usually delicious tamales.
How to Get Here: Jump on the bus at Chedraui on the Periferico. Take any bus going to Tlacolula or Mitla. Get off at the Teotitlan del Valle crucero (crossroad) and get a village taxi or tuk-tuk into town. Or, you can get a colectivo at the Telcel/Volkswagen corner near the baseball stadium on Niño Heroes.
Where to Stay: Consider staying overnight to participate in the Good Friday ceremonies, too. Casa Elena B&B or Las Granadas B&B are good choices.
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