Sunday, April 5, 2009
Holy Week (pt 2) begins in San Juan Puerto Rico
I wanted to begin the second part of our description of the beginning of Holy Week in Old San Juan with a picture of police officers carrying the illuminated image of the Holy Mother. I am struck by how well faith is integrated into public life here in Puerto Rico... unlike its complete divorcement in the United States. Town plazas during Christmas season are decorated with religious images; religious holidays are publicly celebrated. My sense is that no one seems to find it offensive or a violation of their rights. If you are a non-believer or have a different faith then you simply go on with your ordinary business or pleasure for the day. The public expression of faith seems to be a unifying force here rather than a source of divisiveness. If Puerto Rico becomes a state in the Union, rather and leaves its current status as a Free, Associated State I wonder what will happen to this comfortable relationship.
I like the image above because it gives a good representation of the flavor of the event. The men on the left are carrying the litter with the Holy Mother, the Priest... one of many in religious habit is participating just as a marcher... not are an organizer, and the women are being carried along by the procession.
While there were obvious signs of devotion and passion (weeping)... most of the spirit was some excitement and perhaps happiness. I think that while the narrative of Christ's days in Jerusalem is filled with sadness... believers understand that on Easter Sunday Christ triumphs over death and in his suffering makes a sacrifice which allows all of humanity a way to eternal salvation. Indeed, a source of joy.
A note... these images and those of yesterday were made with the camera on board my Macintosh computer. I set the computer up on parked cars and just recorded what came in front of the small lens. I cleaned up the images but essentially this is what was recorded. I think they capture some of the energy of the event and if you click on them they become larger and easier to read.