SYDNEY GAY AND LESBIAN MARDI GRAS PARADE:
Saturday 4th March 2017
7.00pm to 11.30pm, Parade starts at 7.45pm
Oxford & Flinders Streets, Darlinghurst NSW 2010
CARNIVAL IN MEXICO
February 22-28 including Fat Tuesday Feb 28 also known in Europe as Pancake Day Shrove Tuesday or as in Mexico Mardi Gras a day of feasting and celebrating the libido before Lent, this is a Spring Carnival. Cross dressing and masks as in Europe are enormously popular as in Mexico with many huge local street parades.
March 1 Ash Wednesday Miércoles de Ceniza-April 13 Easter Saturday
Mexicans eat fish on Fridays in Lent. This is traditionally a time of some kind of fasting for Christians to mark the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert. The period is marked after Carnival by going to church and having the sign of the cross marked on your forehead in ash by the priest. Ash Wednesday is a public holiday in Mexico. Mexicans eat fish on Fridays during this period and certain pastries. Ice cream is extremely popular, in the past the ice was brought down from the mountains. Easter bunnies and eggs are not part of Mexican tradition though near the border USA some have adopted that custom with supermarkets selling what we recognise as Easter delights. Globally most practising Christians avoid meat on Good Friday even if they did not observe Lent.
† EASTER † PASCUA † SEMANA SANTA
Our Lady of Sorrows Nuestra Señora de los Dolores April 7, Palm Sunday Domingo de Ramos April 9, Wednesday April 12 los matines de la tinieblas, Maunday Thursday April 13 Good Friday April 14 Easter Saturday April 15 Easter Sunday April 16 Monday April 17 Tuesday April 18
In Mexico Easter is also Spring Break and a celebratory holiday for all with many families heading for the beach. The break lasts two weeks commencing with Our Lady of Sorrows on the Friday before Easter break and Palm Sunday.
Our Lady of Sorrows, Nuestra Señora de los Dolores April 7 is celebrated with processions of The Virgin dressed in purple. This Feast Day is a prelude to Holy Week, and honors the Mother of Christ in her desolation at the foot of the cross. In early church history this Feast was called The Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary. She is a universal symbol of absolute grief and sorrow at loss, a female archetype in the Jungian and Platonic senses. She is represented in ancient Greece as Niobe of whom Antigone believed she shared a similar fate in the tragedy authored by Sophocles.
In First World Nations Palm Sunday is usually celebrated by people of Christian faith as a day of peace so apart from church services commemorating the arrival of Jesus into town on a donkey, he was honoured with palm fronds, many people join peaceful demonstrations or shows of strength for peace.
In Mexico families get together and people weave beautiful ephemeral decorations from palm fronds for sale outside the church and celebration within church they are often in the shape of Jesus crucified. Once again this celebration is as much about community spirit as it is about commemorating an event. Another excuse to get out and about, shop, go to church, visit and socialise. Religious ceremonies are felt deeply in Mexico and celebrated with great passion.
Vespers of Darkness Los matines de la tinieblas
Wednesday April 12
A mass focusing on the abandonment of Christ by his disciples. Fifteen candles are lit all are extinguished bar one which represents Jesus
Maunday Thursday Jueves Santo
This is a celebration of the Last supper and in Mexico as well as other countries often a re-enactment of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples is performed. In Mexico a re-enactment of The Last Supper is performed in churches with parishioners dressed in the various roles.
Good Friday Viernes Santo
On Good Friday, a Passion Play, or a recreation of the Via Crucis, (the Way of the Cross) on Viernes Santo, is often held in the community of the local parish. This may be an all-day event involving a cast of hundreds of amateur performers playing key roles in the Biblical story, that reaches its climax with a simulated crucifixion. In other places there may be some type of solemn procession in which most of the populace participates as penitents. In addition, the Virgin Mary´s pain and suffering at the loss of her son may be recalled with the display of an Altar de Dolores--an Altar of Sorrows.
Easter Saturday, Sábado Santo, Sabado de Gloria, Black Saturday
The greatest of the holy vigils celebrated during the liturgical year is this day. Frequently it includes an evening mass during which each communicant lights a candle at the altar, holding it throughout the remainder of the ceremony. Following mass, participants may gather outside the church for some comic relief with the raucous burning of Los Judas, even dynamite and fireworks. These large papier maché vividly painted effigies, represent Judas Iscariot and other forces of evil, including the devil and unpopular political personalities so it is obviously great fun. We have photos in-store of Frida and Diego with a Judas figure and have seen them ready waiting in Mexico, awesome. Especially prepared by the local "cohetero" who creates fireworks for all festive occasions, the figures are hung up in the street or the central town plaza. Once the public has gathered, they are ignited in quick succession and, to the delight of all, are literally blown to bits, thereby symbolizing the triumph of good over evil, which Christ’s Resurrection represents. A statue of the Virgin Mary is draped in black as she is in mourning.
Easter Sunday Domingo de Pascua
As Christ has risen this day is a celebration with the extended family and a very social day it includes mass. Also fireworks are let off. In Mexico this can be from a platform peculiar to Mexico called a castillo. Families and friends go to the beach, socialise, gather in the town squares at market places to buy festive items such as balloons or anything that is normal shopping as everyone is in a relaxed mode and all Mexicans enjoy being outdoors.