All over San Luis Potosi a large number of cultural and religious events are organized to commemorate Holy Week, from religious and cultural tourism, such as the Feast of Light, museums and churches, to adventure tourism. However, the most important and most traditional event for the local inhabitants takes place on Good Friday, when the Procession of Silence takes place; one of the most entrenched customs due to its solemnity and mysticism. No matter whether you are Catholic or not, come and live an experience worth remembering, in which, the more things happen, the more you will want to learn about the origin and the meaning of what your witnessing.
For almost 60 years, about two thousand people from 28 different guilds (associations of faithful Catholics) come together on Good Friday to participate in this procession, carrying emblems, religious images concerning the Stations of the Cross, and dressed in the distinctive colors of their guilds. Each one of the “Guilds” carries an image with a picture of Jesus Christ’s Stations of the Cross and of the mysteries of the Holy Rosary.
The procession starts at dusk, exactly at 8:00 p.m., when a crowd takes to the streets in complete silence mourning the Passion and Death of Jesus Christ, according to the Catholic tradition. The Plaza del Carmen is the meeting point of the “Guilds”, and the procession begins when the troops play their bugles decreeing the start of the event, thus commanding a deathly silence. The street lights are dimmed, to make way for the faithful carrying candles, giving the procession an added sense of drama.
The first Guild walks out of the Carmen church carrying the statue of Our Lady of Loneliness, also called “La Dolorosa” because of the expression her face takes on upon seeing her dead Son. The statue is carried by around 40 men, carrying upon their shoulders a weight of over a ton. Gradually the streets are filled with a silent parade marching to the beat of drums and obeying the orders of the bugle. The participants, called “costaleros”, have their head covered by a long, pointed hood adding drama to the action. This postcard is typically Potosina, yet it resembles the streets of Seville due to the similarity of the procession, which is a result of the religious interbreeding between the pre-Hispanic heritage and colonial Mexico.
The pilgrimage lasts a couple of hours and tours the capital city’s main monuments. At times, during the course of the procession the “Saeta” is performed, a sad and painful moan breaking the rigidity of the drums and bugles. The last Guild to take its turn in the parade is “La Soledad” the most anticipated of the Guilds, which returns to the El Carmen Church around midnight, thus bringing the commemoration to an end.