For more than a week, Semana Santa (Easter week) celebrations have been occurring in Copper Canyon, Mexico. I was fortunate to attend two of these, one on Palm Sunday in the tiny Tarahumara village of Cusarare and another on Good Friday in Cerocahui, where I joined in a re-enactment of the crucifixion of Christ, but from the beginning I have been looking forward to the main attraction on Easter weekend. For this reason alone I have returned to Urique Canyon; I hope to witness the Tarahumara Indians perform their mystical religious rites in the village of Guapalayna.
In mid-afternoon on Saturday, I joined the other guests staying at Cabanas San Isidro Lodge for the two hour drive to the bottom of the canyon. With no hotel facilities in Guapalayna, we planned to stay overnight in Urique, rising early on Easter Sunday morning for the short drive to the Tarahumara settlement. At least that was the plan. Unfortunately the hotel where we had reservations had other ideas. When we arrived, there was “no room at the inn.” Our reservations had been turned over to guests who wanted to stay more than one night. Since all accommodations in town were totally booked we drove back up to the canyon rim, placated by assurances from the lodge owner that we would return the next morning in time for the festivities.
Beginning in the mid-1600′s, Jesuit monks began converting the Tarahumara to Christianity. The Jesuits succeeded where other had failed, most likely because they allowed indigenous peoples to merge their traditional native beliefs with Catholicism, resulting in peculiar animistic/religious ceremonies that are today staged on religious sacred holidays, Easter being the most important celebration of the year. On Saturday afternoon, loose Continue reading