With everyone here being very Catholic Pascua was a big holiday here. Bigger even than Christmas! It started on the 1st April with Domingo de las Palmas, where they celebrate the day Jesus first arrived as a mesiah into Jerusalén and was welcomed with the public waving palm leaves in his honour. We got everyone together by the main entrance to Ciudad to wave their palm leaves at the preists and walked down the street and into the Church.
I was brought up Agostic and knew almost nothing about Pascua so it´s been really interesting to learn all about it. There´s something different to learning at the same time as taking part of it instead of just reading about it or something. Especially because the people I´m able to ask questions to are Catholic themselves and this holiday is very important to them. Jackie, the secretary at Ciudad, called us into the office and gave us us some information about Pascua and what it´s all about, which I thought was quite sweet. She also said the boys would be asking questions and we needed to be able to answer them, and they did…we had a lot of ´Hermana did Jesus really die like this´. We did our homework as well and watched the Passion of the Christ and read some of the passages in the bible about his prosecution and ressurection!
On Jueves Santo we had our first Misa de Pascua, which was three hours long! Hugo explained a lot about the last supper, how Jesus went to pray in the Olive garden, was betrayed by Judas and taken away by the guards. Definately too much kneeling though!
Then on Viernes Santo we had two hours of readings from the bible and prayer in the church. I had to go up to the front and read one of the passages from the bible! It was infront of roughly 350 people, behind a pew, in Spanish and everything, I was very nervous. This was the day that Jesus died, so we were told to wear dark colors in mourning and there was a more serious atmosphere. Ciudad also attempted, and failed, to keep the boys in silence for the whole day and at lunch though we all had a tiny amount of food. Then after church, they reinacted Vía Cruz y el doce estaciones de la cruz. San Francisco did the acting, and each pabellón was in charge of making an altar and preparing a prayer, and we all walked round Ciudad stopping at the altars to act out each station. Me, Evie and Amy were asked to play the lloraras crying of Jesus´ dead body!
|San Francisco boys acting out the stations of the cross|
Saturday was another three hour long sesh at church. It started with everyone gathered outside around a bonfire and we gave each one of the boys a candle. Then we walked together into the church with our candles and singing. It was supposed to represent the upcoming ressurection of Christ and the return of light – hope, happiness and joy – spreading through the darkness. None of our boys sent the church up in flames either so that was a result! All us volunteers went up to the front with the offerings as well – wáter, candles, grapes, bread etc.
Sunday was the final celebration, and started with mass at 6am! It was a much happier day with people walking round and wishing ´felices pascuas´ and the cooks prepared a special breakfast. We had caldo de gallina with boiled egg, a chicken leg, bread and coffee. Then after we handed out little easter eggs to the boys, and took a picture of them all while they were still in the church best!
It was definately a bit different to how we´d normally ´celebrate´ Easter – in our house it´s just an extra day off work/school and eating an easter egg – but it´s an experience I won´t forget!