Produce donation is new tradition for Semana Santa

A.M. Costa Rica/Shahrazad Encinias Vela Produce under the protection of Jesus Christ and an angel await distribution.

There is a new Semana Santa tradition in Costa Rica in which vendors of food products donate a symbolic amount to the Roman Catholic Church. Then the produce is distributed to homes for children.

Many of the public markets in the Central Valley have religious paintings of statues, and there are frequent services among those who rent stalls there. The Mercado Central, the Mercado Borbón and the Mercado Coca Cola were all represented at Parque Central Wednesday. The park is just west of the Catedral Metropolitana.

Archbishop Hugo Barrantes was there to bestow his blessings on the vendors and the products they brought.

A.M. Costa Rica/Shahrazad Encinias Vela There'll be no reprieve for this rooster.

This was just one of the activities for Semana Santa. This is a big week for the faithful and priests.

There are three Masses at the cathedral today, at 8:15 a.m., at 9 a.m. and at 6 p.m. Then at 7:30 p.m. begins the first of several processions commemorating the suffering and death of Jesus Christ.

The procession tonight is called Jesús atado a la columna or “Jesus Tied to the Column.” This is based on the biblical account of Christ being whipped by soldiers before his trial the following day. The procession is through the downtown area from the cathedral to the Iglesia El Carmen.

Friday the first procession begins at 10 a.m. marking the story of Christ being forced to carry his cross to the hill where he was executed. It is called in Spanish Jesús Nazareno cargando la cruz camino al Calvario.

Then at 5 p.m. the procession representing the funeral of Christ begins at the cathedral at 5:30 p.m. where marchers are joined by a column from the Iglesia La Soledad. There are hundreds of persons involved.

There is another procession Saturday at 4 p.m. from La Soledad on Calle 9 to the cathedral with Mass at 7 p.m.

The Easter procession is at 10 a.m. Sunday from the Iglesia La Merced at the west end of Avenida 2 to the cathedral for a Mass of Resurrection at 10:30 a.m.

Each of these processions are highly photogenic, and well attended by not only the faithful but tourists. Similar events will take place all over the country.

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