Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Semana Santa - Holy Week

Okay - so we have some questions and concerns about Holy Week here.  For example:
  • On Palm Sunday, we were approached by many vendors who were trying to sell us palms. Not a big issue - it's Palm Sunday.  However, the palms were woven into the shape of ears of corn???  The weaving was AMAZING, but why ears of corn?  They were also selling bundles/sheaves of wheat.  Hmmm...  Upon asking about it, it seems that it has something to do with sacrificing harvest items/blessing the harvest, and fertility.
  • Beginning on Palm Sunday and lasting all week, there are tables and tents of vendors selling bread shaped in the form of a baby.  In fact, it is called "baby bread" in Quechua.  I also asked about this and was told again that it has something to do with fertility.  I'm not quite sure what Christ's Last Supper, Crucifixion, and Resurrection have to do with fertility.
  • Not being able to give up on the baby bread thing, today I asked one of the vendors, "Why is the bread in the shape of a baby?"  Okay, now hold on to your pants because this one is going to blow you over...  her response, in her exact words, was "It's a tradition for Holy Week to honor, you know, Mr. What's-His-Name, for Holy Week."  WHAT?!!  MR. WHAT'S-HIS-NAME?!  Oh, you mean JESUS?!!!!!  I promise, no lie, that was exactly what she said.  And her booth was set up directly beside the church!  Ask Billy, he was there!
Remember the palm crosses that we make/receive for Palm Sunday every year?  I've made many a palm cross!  Today, while walking on the street, I ran across a palm vendor who was selling palm crosses for 1 sole (30 cents) and they were so beautiful that Sarah and I had to break down and buy a couple.  AMAZING!  And there were much bigger, better ones than these, but we went for the normal size.  Cool, huh?  Can you imagine making a basket full of these to hand out during Palm Sunday service?

Okay, that's all for now.  I'll continue my quest to learn more about Holy Week here and report back to you.  In the meantime, I'm going to go and pray to Mr. What's-His-Name and thank Him for the sacrifice of his life for mine.

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