It is Semana Santa in Mexico which means it is vacation time!
School is out for over 200 thousand students in BCS for the next two weeks and several government offices will be closed for the week of the 2nd to the 7th. Banks will be closed Thursday, the 5th and Friday, the 6th.
Grocery stores, department stores and most restaurants will be opened regular hours. Smaller businesses may or may not be opened. Therefore, it is always a good idea to call first to make sure they will be open.
Semana Santa is much like Spring Break up north but in Mexico, the Easter holidays are a combination of two weeks. The first week being Semana Santa, or Holy Week, which this year starts on Palm Sunday, April 1st and the second week being Pascua, which is Resurrection Sunday, April 8th, until the following Saturday.
Mexico is predominately a Catholic country and Semana Santa celebrates the last days of Christ’s life. Easter is the celebration of Christ’s Resurrection. It is also the release from the sacrifices of Lent. Semana Santa is, along with Christmas, the most important religious holiday of the year in Mexico. For those who are still left in the city, they will be heading to mass at the Catholic Church.
In several cities in mainland Mexico, including Oaxaca and San Cristobal de las Casas, religious observances of Semana Santa are still strongly celebrated. However in La Paz, mass is celebrated but religious celebrations in the streets will be hard to find.
Please be aware that the Municipality of La Paz announced Operation Semana Santa 2012 is in effect for the influx of travelers on the highways heading out to the various beaches around the city. Operation Semana Santa 2012 hopes to protect the safety of Sudcalifornianos and visitors to La Paz by reducing the number of car accidents. Strategic checkpoints will be positioned at the entrance and exits of the city until April 8th. Please don’t drink and drive.
If you are traveling, be sure to make hotel reservations as far in advance as possible as hotels will be full this time of year. Also, it may be very difficult to book national flights. The best plan is to just stay put and relax or head out to the beach and enjoy the show. As you are reading this, downtown is being cleared out, beaches are becoming a sea of tents and parked cars, and grocery stores will be humming with customers at all hours of the day as they are preparing for their traditional holiday get away. During Semana Santa, the people of Mexico attempt to abandon their normal life as a laborer, student or housewife and forget daily stresses and conflicts, if even for just a few days.