Thursday, April 9, 2020

Good Friday in Latin America: Santo Entierro

Santo Entierro, Leon Nicaragua
Santo Entierro, Mani, Yucatan MX

Santo Entierro borne in procession, Barrio Sutiava, Leon Nicaragua

In Spain and the Latin American world, Good Friday is a different story.  Celebrations in the US and the larger part of Western Europe follow the biblical narrative where Jesus for the time being disappears after his crucifixion and death.  In Latin America, this is far from the case. After his death, a statue of Jesus is put into a glass coffin, (as shown in above images), left there for believers to mourn, and later carried around town in a solemn procession. This image of Jesus in a coffin has a name, Cristo Entierro or SeƱor Sepultado.  

To many believers, this death and entombment of Jesus is a reality, not just an enactment.   In some churches, where the service includes an actual crucifixion (with the statue being put on a cross), people will afterwards get up and take pictures of Jesus being moved into the coffin.  The line between person and image is blurred.

On Good Friday evening, there is often a procession with floats bearing images of the grieving Mary and the coffin of Jesus.  People in the crowd will weep. Below is an excerpt from a Good Friday procession in Leon, Nicaragua.


The Jesus of Holy Week is much more complexly imagined in Latin America (and Spain).   There are several different images of Jesus that figure in Holy Week observances. Here is a link to a post describing these:

Below is an excerpt from a Good Friday mid-day procession in Leon, Nicaragua, showing the image of Jesus on the way to his crucifixion.

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