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  • Jennie Bjarnason

DOMINGO DE RAMOS PARADE, URUAPAN MICHOACAN

CULTURAL EVENTS & ART COLLECTION IN MEXICO


When Jesus entered the Holy City of Jerusalem, the people placed palm branches on the path before him. So important and symbolic are the palm branches and leaves, they are saved from Holy Week, and later burned into ashes and painted as a Holy Cross on the foreheads of devout followers during Lent.


Upon arriving in Uruapan, watch for the many women who will be weaving simple and elaborate palm fronds near the main church on the plaza. Palm Sunday or Domingo de Ramos marks the end of Lent, the beginning of Holy Week - and a time for replacing all of the palms that were burned to ash just weeks ago. (In 2022, Lent began on March 2 and will end on April 14).



Reportedly the largest market in all of Mexico, some claim the observations of Palm Sunday in Uruapan encompass the largest handcraft market in all of Latin America. Perhaps what attracts massive crowds each year, are the proud communities who honor their indigenous pride, presenting their best musicians, dancers, artists, bakers, and entertainers, as they dance through the streets to toast their culture, and acknowledge art as an integral economic force for indigenous communities in the state of Michoacan. This fantastical parade takes place on the Saturday prior to Domingo de Ramos each year, which is a moveable feast that changes each year, depending on when Good Friday and Easter Sunday fall. The market will continue throughout the Semana Santa (Easter) celebrations, ending on the Monday following Easter Sunday.



Though in Pre-Hispanic times, the markets were not centered around Christianity, the Palm Sunday tianguis of Uruapan has Pre-Hispanic roots, in that the region was already a hub of highland villages from all over the Meseta region (Ocumicho, Patamban, San Jose de Gracias, Paracho), and the Lake Patzcuaro area (Capula, Tzintzuntzan, Santa Clara del Cobre). The original tianguis for Palm Sunday began as pottery markets, but after a major revamp of the Plaza in Uruapan, the market expanded and diversified to include various mediums, including exquisite textiles, dramatic and whimsical wood carvings, instruments, an amazing food market of local cuisine, and so on. This event also features a concurso, or adjudicated competition, so artists can submit their finest pieces and gain recognition for unique presentation, and excellence in skill.


The four major indigenous groups in attendance during this celebration includes the P'urepecha, Nahua, Mazahua and Otomi - with the P'urepecha having the most representation, given its location in P'urepecha territory. It is estimated that each year there are around 1300 to as many as 2000 vendors, with most of them representing multiple artists from community collectives. It's hard to guess just how many artists showcase their work during this festival, though it is believed there are usually well over one million pieces on display.


2022 marks the 62nd anniversary of the first Palm Sunday Market in Uruapan, and due to having been cancelled for the past two years due to Covid-19, we are very excited for the artists who deeply rely on this event each year, in particular those who live in remote villages that are infrequently visited by travelers. If you are interested in joining us for unique experiences in Indigenous regions of Mexico, please contact us at info@soulofmexicotours.com.


There is little that can be more inspiring and hopeful, than seeing children in traditional dress, full of joy, laughter and cultural pride. This show of confidence in ones indigenous identity at such a young age is moving, given world-wide oppression and exploitation of indigenous peoples. It is magnificent to witness such an alluring and festive occasion, observing communities, artists, families and musicians celebrating one another, and being celebrated by their audience. This is an enchanting event for your bucket list.


PHOTO GALLERY FROM 2016-2019






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