Well whaddya know?!?
My favorite source of material to lambaste has managed to write herself a decent article in today’s ABQjournal. Ms. Polly Summar wrote a nice (and for her, shockingly respectful) article regarding the Penitentes who worship in their particular ways during this Holy Week leading up to Easter. Some folks make treks to places like Santuario de Chimayo. Others worship in their moradas as they remember the origin of the Easter holiday.
It is an annual tradition dating back centuries. I remember as a kid listening to the newscasts each year telling about the people making the long trek to Chimayo, sometimes flagellating themselves or inflicting other self-pain. It is a long Catholic tradition with some renewed interest since the popular success of both the book and the movie “The DaVinci Code”.
I refuse to get into any religious discussions here because I feel every person needs to figure out for themselves what they believe and how to be ok with that. What I’m here to talk about is a New Mexico tradition that has memory and meaning for me.
I was pleased to see yesterday that the state has taken steps to make those that travel on the highways and roads a bit more safe (for both pilgrim and general traveler). I know in past years there’s been tribulations around this on both sides. Here’s to a workable solution.
Hearing of the New Mexico Penitentes puts me into the Easter spirit. It’s how I know the holiday is nigh. It’s been years since I attended Mass, but Easter to my memory was always a nice day. Not only did they throw the dark purple cloaks off the statues at church but we all got to get back whatever we gave up for Lent…which usually makes folks glad.
Then there was the singing of joyous songs. My mom particularly loved “Jesus Christ is Risen Today”(mind your volume if you click that link) and sang it in full voice all day long.
The aaaaaaahhhhhleeeeeeeluuuuuuujahs really got to her…and to me after several hours…..she loved them almost as much as the In Excelcius Deo’s from Christmas.
The weather in New Mexico was usually wonderful so it was great to be out in the sun. My mom always got both my sister and I a new dress to wear to Mass. Usually new white shoes too. My mom was, of course, a traditionalist, and so no white shoes and no sandals before Easter, so breaking out the white sandals was a new sense of freedom. Toes got to come OUT in the flip flops! Summer was near! My birthday was less than a month away! And I got to wear a new dress!
AND THERE WAS CANDY! And eggs hidden in the backyard. Easter is usually pretty good memories for me, and that’s saying a lot. I think as the years go by, I’ll hang on to the good memories like Easter. Seems healthier that way.
So this year, however you choose to enjoy your holiday, either by meditating, worshipping in your own way or eating ham with potato salad that looks like you dropped confetti in it from the colored eggs, do please have a safe and wondrous day (especially YOU, Polly).