Retire in Mexico and Experience Good Friday in A Whole New Way March 21
When you retire in Mexico (or just live here at any stage in your life) you will be experiencing life in a very Catholic country. There are towns in Mexico that do some impressive (and graphic) Good Friday celebrations. Near Cuernavaca, the town of Taxco has one such celebration.
People of all ages and walks of life make promises to God to suffer in some way in exchange for the salvation of a family member –perhaps from a grave illness– or some kind of support for themselves–perhaps they have committed a sin and need forgiveness or are overcoming an addiction of some kind. On Good Friday these people form a procession, carrying crosses, flogging themselves, walking on their knees, etc. The celebration is actually quite bloody.
Not all Mexicans enjoy such celebrations. One of my Mexican students has lived in Taxco yet has chosen never to attend, but one of her family members did and was splattered by blood when a participant whipped his own back!
I just saw a bit of a reenactment of Christ’s crucifixion on the cross “performed” in a town in the state of Mexico and broadcast on T.V. I caught the final bit where a man playing the role of Christ was on the cross — hands nailed through bleeding, chest heaving, crown of thorns covering his long-haired head. It was hard to watch and I had to double check with my husband that he hadn’t actually died when he stilled his chest and a person dressed as an angel with wings climbed a double-stacked extension ladder to release a white dove representing his holy spirit. My husband assured me that while, quite painful, the experience wasn’t deadly for this “Christ” as he had previously played the same role last year! Imagine doing that twice–that’s more than even Christ did.
Not all Good Friday celebrations in Mexico are so gruesome. Reportedly, in Oaxaca men give women flowers in the morning on this day. In my own neighborhood, church members accompanying the priest, carried the cross through the neighborhood and distributed little papers with self-reflection questions written on them. The questions included “What is the role of the cross in your own life?” and “Which crosses are hardest for you to bare?” The priest announced that people should consider their own answer to these questions, then gather in a street in our neighborhood at a certain time to share our answers.
Whatever your religious beliefs, when you retire in Mexico, the celebrations, beliefs, and traditions here will give you an opportunity to learn more about the Christian faith and its set of beliefs. Additionally, ss always is true of cross-cultural experiences, it will allow you to re-evaluate and know more deeply your own personal set of beliefs and traditions. That’s what makes retiring in Mexico vs, say Arizona, so special.