Eastern Friday in Sonsonate and Izalco
In El Salvador, the religious traditions of Easter are experienced with greater intensity and devotion in the cities of Sonsonate and Izalco, located in the west of the country and just 10 kilometers from each another. The most special day is certainly on Good Friday, which commemorates the passion and death of Jesus Christ.
Both, at Sonsonate and Izalco, the first activity is the Via Crucis, a procession that starts at 7 am and passes through the town main streets. At Izalco, the march starts at the colonial church of Our Lady of Sorrows, while in Sonsonate it departs from Our Lady of El Pilar and ends at the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity. The procession ends at noon.
At both processions the main focus are the beautiful religious images, known as Nazarenes.
At Izalco, the image is from middle of the eighteenth century and shows a strong racial syncretism, it is not white, but brown, and it has Native American features with a long hair. Is accompanied by the Virgin of Solitude (second half XVIII century), San Juan (late eighteenth century), the Magdalene and La Verónica (dating to early last century).
Almost the same characteristics are presented in the Nazarene from Sonsonate. This beautiful image from the first half of the eighteenth century is life-size (about 1.80 m in height). His “Anda” or moving altar is also impressive, and is led by a group of 40 carriers.
The Way of the Cross, commemorates the act of the Crucifixion of Jesus. Only members of the Brotherhood can touch the image of Christ and elements such as the crown of thorns and nails. It is an ancient tradition, and only the older members of the Brotherhood that have shown high morals and great respect to the community can achieve this honor. The vast majority of “Pious”, as they are known, are over 60 years old and many of them over 80 years old.
At Izalco, the image is known as “Descending Christ”. It is first mentioned in 1885 but there are no records of the date it was made. Historians such as Carlos Leiva, believe that the image was created by Juan Ganuza or one of his students in the city of Guatemala. The Descending Christ wears a beautiful crown of thorns made by Miguel Cabrera, the most famous jeweler at that time.
In Sonsonate, the image is known as “The Crucified” and it was first used for this purpose in 1940, although the image is over 200 years old. This image of Christ is flanked by two realistic images of thieves: Gestas and Dimas, created in the early years of the last century.
Both events are accompanied by hundreds of people who show great devotion. Izalco, also celebrates one Crucifixion at the ruins of the old Church of Our Lady of the Assumption.
When is descended from the cross, the image of Christ is treated with reverence as if it were a real corpse, and again, only members of the Brotherhood of the Holy Burial can touch the sacred image. In Sonsonate, the image of the Crucified is shrouded as it happened two thousand years ago.
Finally, the Holy Burial Procession leaves at 5 pm in both cities. Thousands of people gather at the funeral, since both processions are beautiful and filled with devotion. The “Anda” weighs about 2 tons and is carried on the shoulders of 44 porters. In total, more than 600 porters take turns to carry the image until daybreak, when they return back to the Church. The urn in Sonsonate was manufactured 75 years ago with Melon wood, a tree extinct in the country nowadays.
The most beautiful images are the lying Christ of Sonsonate, that is almost 450 years old, also displaying indigenous features.
You can find more information on the Tourism Unit of the Municipality of Izalco
Facebook: www.facebook.com / comunicacionesizalco
Phone: 2429-8000, extension 102
Address: First South Avenue, Assumption sand, between Roberto Carias Avenue and Unión Street, Izalco, Sonsonate.
Or the town hall of Sonsonate
Facebook: www.facebook.com / people / Mayor% C3% ADa-Sonsonate/100001024343970
Address: Av Claudia Lars # 1-1 Barrio El Centro, Sonsonate
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