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Good Friday

One of the most grandiose events for Quito’s religious community, the great procession of Santo Viernes (Good Friday) follows the morning Via Crucis prayer on the final Friday of Holy Week, observing to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Tens of thousands—many donning purple robes and coned hoods reminiscent of the Ku Klux Klan—flock to the city’s historic center and wind through the streets in a solemn procession. It’s a colorful scene definitely not to be missed. Watch it from a balcony or join the masses walking through the streets.

The procession begins at midday at Iglesia San Francisco, making its way through the Centro Histórico to the Basílica and back to San Francisco. Traditional purple-hooded cucuruchos (penitents, many donning thorny headpieces, massive crosses and chains around their feet demonstrating their will to change) and robed Verónicas (also wearing purple dresses and black shrouds as they pay tribute to the woman who wiped the sweat and blood from Jesus’ face as he was carried on the cross) encircle a figure of Jesus and the Virgen Dolorosa (Our Lady of Sorrows), further surrounded by the solemn masses.

The procession ends at 3 p.m.—the hour of Jesus’ death—and is followed by a ceremony reenacting the Descent from the Cross at six in the evening. Some Quito churches make quite an ordeal of this, with the priest recounting the story of the apostles performing the sepulcher of Christ from his pulpit. Finally, designated men remove the nails from the crucified Christ, passing the body along to a group of women who lay him to rest in a white tunic and flowers.

In addition to watching the procession, Quiteños typically go to church on the morning of Good Friday and spend the rest of the day at home, perhaps watching religious movies about Jesus. In the evening, the extended family gets together for dinner, where fanesca, a traditional Easter-time soup made with twelve grains and fish, is usually served. Many families also go to the coast for Good Friday and Semana Santa because children have off school and adults have time off work.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Ecuador: Holidays and Fiestas, Carnaval , Ceremonia de Reseña o Vísperas, Fiesta de la Mama Negra, New Year's Eve, Fiestas de Quito and The Day of the Dead in Ecuador.

By Caroline Bennett
exploring, laughing, wanderlust, strangers. 120 film, making art, cyanotypes, vintage. scotch on the rocks & coffee, black. the unknown. the sound of...
23 Aug 2012

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