Semana Santa in Puerto Escondido

You hear the flap of parachutes opening high above and then a ‘yahoo’ sounds from the skies, the skydivers falling to the beaches are the first sign that Easter Weekend is fast approaching in Puerto Escondido.

A one way system is put in place on the main beach strip roads of Zicatella, new shiny cars from out of town are easily confused driving through the town avoiding its potholes and the uneven kerbs. Chedruai Supermarket is stocked high with cases of cerveza and crispy snacks, cool boxes are on special offer for families to fill and transport to the beaches. Pop up Taco and Michelada stands appear overnight along the beach front and sun loungers are laid out ready for bodies slathered in suncream to sizzle upon along all the beaches.

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Beer distributors, Corona, Sol, Dos XX and Victoria compete for a share of the tourist market, at the Corona stage thousands and thousands of bottles are guzzled under the blue gazebos.
When bleary eyed Spring Break kids leave late night parties and wake up with the sunrise on the beach, they will pass the clean up squads who will be out in force early each morning. Along with this hedonistic young wealth coming into town to party hard, tiny wrinkly ladies on the poverty line hunt through the garbage, collecting tin cans to sell scrap for a few pesos. Unfortunately the mess left behind on the beaches is outstandingly disgusting. Easter Weekend transitions Puerto Escondido from our gorgeous tropical laid back town into Easter madness!

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Coaches of varying mechanical conditions roll in from all over Mexico, cars packed with holiday makers drive down from Mexico City and Puebla to unload into the hotels around the Adoquin, main shopping street. Semana Santa is a big deal in Mexico not only for the Catholic religious commemorations but it’s a major holiday when people from the cities can take an well earnt excursion to the seaside. Families of all ages celebrated the solemn Passion of Christ processions on Good Friday and they will attend Holy Mass on Sunday but the rest of the weekend is for fun beach time and partying, Mexicans love to fiesta!

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Bomberos and Salvadistas are prepared for all eventualities, they will save many people over the weekend who cannot swim, rogue waves can quickly sweep the unaware out from the waters edges. For some, swimsuits are a luxury that cannot be afforded. It’s fun to see whole families laughing and playing in their clothes in the water. Sandy jeans get left on the rocks to dry out and flipflops are abandoned, it’s a glorious time and people love visiting here.

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The shallow curved bays of Playa Principal and Playa Marinero are favoured by families, vendors sell drinks, nuts, fried bananas, pineapples and snacks. This is the time for the straw hat man to make a killing! The beaches will be rammed late after sunset, then music blares out from bars and discos well into the early hours.

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If you live in Puerto, you either love or hate the chaos that descends!

Easter is probably my favourite time of year, back in the UK it signifys renewal of the earth after a long wet grey winter. Daffodils and crocuses burst out of the soil to add colour to the side of roads, newborn lambs bounce in the fields, the clocks spring forward and by teatime we’re back in the light.

During our year in Latin America, I’ve been reminded of the importance of the Sun at the centre of our solar system on the land in all the countries we visited. In Peru, we saw elaborate Sun calendars chiseled into rocks where the Sun was worshipped to bring good crops and health, we witnessed how the 4 cycles of the Sun in the seasons bring different festivites throughout the year. At the Equator the 4 points on the compass show the changing cycles of equinoxes and solstices, we also balanced eggs to bring us good luck and prosperity!

When the Spanish conquered and converted, they tied in the resurrection of Christ to the renewal of the Sun on the Earth at the Spring Equinox, when the Sun is at its highest central point in the sky. Spring is a time related to balance, harmony and spritual values. The Easter story reminds us it’s a time to celebrate leaving dark days behind and for families to come together.

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So although we have no Easter Bunny or Easter Eggs in Mexico, the Evans spend time with our extended loved Mexico family. On Friday our Casa Los Mangos family were invited to Willie and Susan’s where we enjoyed a delicious Turkey BBQ dinner. With Billy and Mel we shared an Indian Saturday evening supper and snorted up Mel’s delicious trifle. Today on Easter Sunday we will spend the day with our gorgeous Frome friends Susan and Keith.

For me this Easter signifies our journey home back to the UK, just as the Sun journeys North from Sping Equinox to Summer Solstice in June, in 8 weeks time we’ll be reunited with family and friends. So this weekend we’re certainly feeling the luck and happiness I continually pray for throughout our year abroad.

Happy Easter friends, sending much love x

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