Semana Santa in Mexico



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It is Semana Santa in Mexico, which means it’s vacation time!

TBC

OPERATION SEMANA SANTAStarting much earlier this year than last, Semana Santa is a big deal in Mexico and a tradition that cannot be ignored or go unnoticed.

During the days leading up to Easter Sunday, downtown will be cleared out, beaches will start becoming a sea of tents and parked cars, and grocery stores will be humming with customers at all hours of the day as they prepare 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 to forget daily stresses and conflicts – if even for just a few days.

School is out for over 200,000 students in BCS for the two weeks (March 18th to April 4th), and several government offices will be closed for the week of the 23th to the 27th. Banks will be closed Thursday, the 24th, and Friday, the 25th.

Grocery stores, department stores, and most restaurants will be open regular hours. Smaller businesses may or may not be open. So before you head out, it’s a good idea to call first to make sure your favorite small business is 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 is Semana Santa, or Holy Week, which this year starts on Palm Sunday, March 20th. The second week is Pascua, which is from Resurrection Sunday, March 27th, 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, along with Christmas, is 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 has announced that Operation Semana Santa 2016 is in effect for the influx of travelers on the highways heading out to the various beaches around the city. Operation Semana Santa 2016 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 March 27th. 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!

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