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The Procession of Silence manifestation of popular mourning

The Procession of Silence manifestation of popular mourning


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The Procession of Silence in San Luis Potosí, has its origins in 13th century Spain, when Franciscan priests began their Processions of Blood, in which they inflicted physical punishment and represented scenes related to the Passion of Christ. In the 16th century, the ritual was brought to New Spain thanks to the order of the Discalced Carmelites, it would be established annually, as it is now, until 1954. Since then, it has become the most important Catholic procession. important of the Mexican Republic. Religious heritage that reveals the faith of Potosi, the Procession of Silence is a powerful communion of people with God.

This particular procession was officially established in 1955 by Monsignor Joaquin Antonio Peñalosa Santillan, with the support of a very large community of Creoles and descendants of Spaniards historically settled in the town. At that moment, the bullfighters Fermin Rivera, Nicolas de San Jose and others began a small procession to promulgate the Via Crucis and the pain of the Virgen de la Soledad for the bullfighters’ guild, in the Iglesia de El Carmen. It is based on the Holy Week processions in Seville, Spain.

The squares in the center of the city are filled to capacity. The streets are crowded with people, food, sweets, relics, chamomile, blessed bread, incense, candles and solemnity, everything opens up to Easter. A silent procession of more than two thousand people including children, young people, women and men, carrying venerated images on a litter, which are the reason for the crowd.

On the night of Good Friday in the Plaza del Carmen, profusely illuminated, the Teatro de la Paz and the Federal Palace, beautiful vestiges of the 19th century from San Luis Potosi, make a fence for the demonstration of pain. The neighborhoods of Tlaxcala, Santiago, San Miguelito, San Sebastian, El Montecillo, San Juan de Guadalupe and Tequisquiapan are present. The Convents are also present: The Carmelites, the Augustinians, the Franciscans and the former Jesuits. Children, young people, professionals, railway workers, (all turned into brotherhoods) in addition to the Charros and the Adelitas, the Praetorian Guard and the Veronicas.

It is eight o’clock at night, everyone is waiting for the start of the duel, the departure of the Procession. The bugle, from the steps of the Teatro de la Paz gives the order to start, the Praetorian Guard walks martially towards the main door of the Templo del Carmen and calls the Zaguan that opens and begins the Procession of Silence. Eight chimes, three knocks on the door and a spirited steed mounted by its rider, in front of the square and followed by a pennant carved in silver, a High Cross and candlesticks plus the Brotherhood of altar boys from the Tequisquiapan neighborhood lead this demonstration of mourning popular.

Members of the different brotherhoods, most of them penitents with their faces covered and bare feet, many of them dragging chains, will accompany the images, carried on a litter by the bearers, with the impressive roll of drums and the sound of trumpets. Some, due to their enormous weight, represent a penance that is carried out with fervor. As has happened in previous years, those who attend the Procession of Silence participate with devotion and respectfully observe the passing of the images.

People form the procession, they are also the spectator. The rebozos of Santa Maria shine in gold, red, blue, gray, pigeon, white, yellow and green. Mourning is rigorous in the ladies, they wear a comb and a braided shawl; brothers with tall dresses, lampposts and a devout silence, only interrupted by the duel of the drum and the bugle. The saetillas in honor of the Jesus who is going to be sacrificed, as well as of the Virgen de la Soledad, who closes the passage of the procession, will be released at strategic points, from those architectural jewels that are the balconies of the city, to move even more to those who witness the procession.

La Dolorosa, La Virgen de la Soledad, a precious sculpture sculpted by Manuel Tolsa, full of tuberose and illuminated by more than a hundred candles, with a tearful face, crowned and resplendent with stars on her diadem, covered by a cloak in the form of a cloak for a walk , under a precious canopy embroidered in black and gold, while the Costaleros raise it in public view in a canopy richly covered in gold. He is the central figure that the people want to see, offer their condolences. Today, the world remembers the death of Jesus. Thus, the slow and painful journey after several hours will come to an end, when the image of the Sorrowful Virgin crosses the threshold of the Templo del Carmen last.

One Good Friday night he received, once again, the solidarity of Catholics in his immense sorrow. In a procession that lasts 240 minutes and in which 20 brotherhoods with 2,000 people participate, illuminating their pilgrimage through the streets of the center of this colonial Mexican city with 3,000 candles and which is followed by the silent gaze of thousands of spectators. It is the representation of the thirteen stations of the cross and five painful mysteries.

According to Catholic tradition, Holy Week is the last week of the period known as Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Good Friday. During this period, seven Fridays of Lent have to be fulfilled, since each of them is dedicated to a religious dedication or passage from the period of the passion of Jesus Christ. There are people who affirm that during the seven Fridays you have to do total penance. Lent, a period of forty days in which the rites of penance and repentance are established, contrasts with the Carnival festivities, which are the prelude to Lent.

Today, it is the only procession in Mexico that represents all the stations of the Via Crucis. It was declared part of the Cultural Heritage of the state of San Luis Potosi in 2013, as well as the most important civic and religious act in the State.