Friday, April 22, 2011

on good friday

We are not particularly religious.  Mike is in his select ways, for the past 38 days he has gone without his afternoon candy craving, and we'll go with my grandmother to church on Easter morning, but our leanings don't go much further than that.  Maybe for Mike it does a bit more, he was raised Catholic, but for me, raised by former Catholics, the holidays held more seasonal significance than anything rooted in Christianity*.  But three years ago at Easter I visited my Dad and stepmom in their winter hometown of San Miguel de Allende, and it was an entirely different experience.  Religion, minus the commercialism, just the pure belief on display, was an amazing thing to be a part of, even for a skeptic like me.

I wasn't thinking of San Miguel, or Good Friday, earlier tonight as we made our way to Friday night dinner at Cronin & Phelans.  But as we walked down the street, we heard music.  Loud, solemn music coming from somewhere in the neighborhood, and as we tried to cross 35th street a police officer stood in our way, and then we saw them.  Hundreds of people silently moving towards us, walking down the middle of the street with candles in hand, various statues held above their heads--we had walked right into the Procession of the Holy Burial.

We paused for a minute and then turned up 35th, walking on the sidewalk in the opposite direction of the quiet crowd, and I thought of my rooftop perch in San Miguel three years ago, of what was happening in towns all around the world right now.  For a few minutes I felt a part of something larger than our little neighborhood, but then we were at the end of the procession, and we turned onto Broadway, back into the noise of Friday night.

my poor quality photos of San Miguel de Allende, March 2008
* Can't help thinking of Jim Gaffigan's bit on this: "Easter the day Jesus rose from the dead, what should we do? How 'bout eggs? Well, what does that have to do with Jesus? Alright we'll hide them.  I don't follow your logic.  Don't worry there's a bunny".

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