Nuestra Señora de Dolores (Our Lady of Sorrows) leads the procession. Hooded members of various Catholic cofradías (confraternities, or religious organizations founded in Europe) carry life-size statues on their wooden platforms approximately three kilometers through Morelia's Centro Histórico.
Drummers marked the beat of Morelia's penitential Procesión del Silencio, Good Friday's silent procession commemorating both the crucifixion of Christ and his Mother's grief. Only the drumbeat breaks the silence along the route.
Jesus during la Oración en el Huerto (praying in the Garden of Gethsemane), just prior to his arrest on Holy Thursday night. Boy Scouts (the young man in red at the right of the photo) hold the protective rope all along the route of the procession.
Hundreds of cofradía members marched in the still of this Good Friday night. Foreigners, particularly those from the United States, are often shocked by the hoods, which to them are cultural reminders of the Ku Klux Klan. In Mexico, there is no association between the two. The procession is penitential and the hoods are a guarantee of anonymity and humility for the cofradía members. They believe that humility and works of charity are best practiced anonymously.
Semana Santa (Holy Week) cofradías originated in 9th century Europe as pious organizations and arrived in Mexico with the earliest Spanish settlers. The figures in the 2017 photo above are from Seville, Spain, and are made of white chocolate. Photo courtesy Jane Bachner King.
The Legion of Christ carry their banner and their lamps. The Procesión del Silencio lasts about five hours. During that time, all of Morelia's Centro Histórico is closed to vehicular traffic. A large police presence looks through one's bags before letting you through to the procession area.
Candle holders are made of many materials, from crystal to styrofoam to metal.
Penitents from one of Morelia's confraternities carry their crosses the length of the procession. Many march barefoot through the city streets. The procession celebrated its thirty-seventh anniversary this year.
Robed and hooded members of another Catholic confraternity carry this image of the Cristo del Entierro (Christ of the Burial), nailed to the cross prior to his elevation. Hoods cover the faces of those who march as a sign of penitence.
Six men of all ages carry Cristo Muerto (the dead Christ), while six others follow as relief when the burden of the image, the platform, the lights, and the flowers becomes too heavy. The man at the far right of the photo carries one of two saw horses used to support the platform during occasional pauses in the procession.
At the end of the Procesión del Silencio, la Virgen de la Soledad (Our Lady of Solitude) follows the body of her crucified Son. The platform bearing her image holds burning candles, a purple and gold velvet canopy, and banks of fresh flowers.
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