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Easter observances begin with Friday of Sorrows

Mexico’s Easter traditions begin in the Lake Chapala area with eye-catching tributes to La DolorosaOur Lady of Sorrows that appear on the last Friday before Holy Week, falling this year on March 22.

pg24aAltars dedicated to the Virgin Mary dressed in mourning garb and filled with symbolic elements are mounted that day at the doorsteps of many devout families and some cultural centers as a manifestation of the appreciations for afflictions suffered by the mother of Jesus Christ and hope for human redemption.

The pained countenance of La Dolorosa and the cross make up the focal points of the shrines. Cloth drapes or sheets of papel picado (tissue paper cutouts) are hung as a background for the displays. The common color scheme is deep purple, the hue of mourning, and white, signifying purity.

Natural elements may include fresh flowers, especially red blossoms symbolizing the blood of Christ, and pine boughs or other types of greenery to represent the Mount of Olives. Newly sprouted plants, grown from seeds that were blessed and planted on Candlemas, are symbolic of rebirth. Bitter oranges or grapefruit stand for the bittersweet sacrifices of the Savior.

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