As we started into the courtyard, we noticed the flag, which is normally not raised when we arrive. The flag was at half-mast. I immediately asked Pastor Carlos who had died, and he replied, “Jesus.” I said, “Wow, a country with its flag at half-mast for the death of Christ.” Pastor Carlos, who had already started praying, added nothing else.
Richard and I were so impressed that, despite the doctrinal differences, the effect of Catholicism in Mexico is strong enough to cause the flag, throughout the country, to be flown at half-mast. Fortunately, before I started this blog, I researched the days the Mexican flag is to be flown at half-mast, along with the history of Holy Week, which is followed by an additional week referred to as Pascua (Passover). My research revealed that the flag was actually only at half-mast for a deceased dignitary that Monday. It wasn’t in memory of Christ’s sacrifice for our sin, but…
As Richard and I watched the events of Holy Week and Pascua, there is still something noteworthy of the tradition. A whole country does honor and acknowledge the sacrifice Christ made for us. Actually, the remembrance starts with what we would refer to as Palm Sunday, with each day after that having its own ceremony for the entire week before Christ’s resurrection! The celebration then continues with an additional week—Pascua. There are dramatic presentations of Christ’s capture, trial and crucifixion performed in the streets, including a loud speaker announcement of the biblical account, throughout Mexico. It is considered an honor to be a part of these presentation/parades, with Christ carrying His cross for long distances. Regardless of the possible motives of the participants, almost everyone in the country knows what happened on Holy Week−this is still amazing!
As is the case in the United States, there is a new generation that may not embrace the biblical meaning of Holy Week and Pascua, but here in Mexico, it is still a small minority. We are told that so far the Easter Bunny and the accompanying traditions are not seen in the Mexican celebration of the holiday, including the use of the US name “Easter.” Most government agencies are closed for the entire two weeks!
Again, we know all the ramifications of many of the religious traditions in Mexico, but scripture does say to give “honor to whom honor is due” (Romans 13:7 ISV) and Richard and I are giving honor to Mexico, as well as glory to God, for the religious freedom that still exists!
Enjoy the photos of the typical Monday morning tradition of the mandatory patriotic ceremony for government and all schools—compared to the empty town square and half-mass flag we encountered at the beginning of Holy Week.