The majority of the country’s practicing Catholics initiated Lent by attending church on Ash Wednesday (Miercoles de Cenizas) when a priest – or in some cases a nun – stamped the sign of the cross on their foreheads while reciting a familiar spiritual admonition such as “Repent and believe in the Gospel” or “You are dust and to dust you shall return.”
For most Mexican people Lent is traditionally a period of spiritual reflection that is enhanced through personal abnegation, pious works and acts of charity.
Another widespread custom during Lent is the observance of la vigilia, meaning adherence to a diet free of red meat on Fridays as well as fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Butcher’s shops commonly close for business on these days, while restaurants offer their customers seafood and vegetarian specialties.
State authorities will be on the lookout for price gouging during Lent, as fishmongers tend to do a brisk trade at this time of year. And doctors frequently warn this the dangers of buying fish at street market stalls without refrigeration.
Perhaps the best place to buy the freshest fish is at Zapopan’s Mercardo del Mar, the metro area’s wholesale seafood market. Seafood is shipped in daily from all over Mexico, and the range of produce is wider than at any other outlet in the city.
The Mercado del Mar borders Calle Pino Suarez near the center of Zapopan. Take Avila Camacho into Zapopan, turn right at the arches onto Avenida los Laureles, and go about a third of a mile. At the traffic light with the Squadron 201 airplane statue, take a right into the Mercado del Mar parking lot.