Although the Pinotepa market days are big, they don’t compare to Semana Santa (the week before Easter). People get ready for the finale with processions, carrying the dead Christ through town to the church each of the seven Fridays before Easter. The climax comes on Viernes Santa (Good Friday), when a platoon of young Mixtec men paint their bodies white to portray Jews, and while intoning ancient Mixtec chants shoot arrows at Christ on the cross. On Saturday, the people mournfully take the Savior down from the cross and bury him, and on Sunday gleefully celebrate his resurrection with a riot of fireworks, food, and folk dancing.
Although not as spectacular as Semana Santa, there’s plenty of merrymaking, food, dancing, and processions around the Pinotepa zócalo church on July 25, the day of Pinotepa’s patron, Santiago (St. James).
© Bruce Whipperman from Moon Oaxaca, 5th edition