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Semana Santa y Semana Pascua

Semana Santa y Semana Pascua

March 24 – April 7

Semana Santa y Semana Pascua aka Holy Week and Easter Week.

Semana Santa is the Spanish term for Holy Week, the week leading up to Easter in the Catholic calendar. Commemorating the last week of Jesus’ life and building up to His Resurrection on Easter Sunday.  Apparently, according to WiseGeek, Catholic Spanish-speaking countries are known for their elaborate processions and celebrations during this week.  This I believe to be true.

While I understand lent, Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday from my own Catholic upbringing, Semana Santa, especially from a social perspective, is a phenomenon about which I was not one bit familiar.  Peter Cotton Tail and dyed eggs are not part of the festivities.  My friend, Nancy, who is from the area, educated me a bit.  The first week, Semana Santa, the holiday revelers are mostly blue collar-type workers – those who are doing more service-oriented or labor-oriented work.  This explains all the young folks we saw on the bus coming back from Puerto Vallarta the day Jaime flew out.  That bus ride was an adventure in and of itself.  But given that it was only 25 pesos (2 bucks), one cannot expect PrimeraPlus.  I digress, these young folk set up camp on the beach near the campground and northwards and also near the boats on the south end.  An incredible site to behold, a beach packed with colorful tents.  I can imagine the fun that was had.  Camping on a beautiful beach in the tropics.  Fireworks at night accompanying music and the seemingly never-ending flow of cervesa Mexicana.  Sunbathing and body surfing by day.  Chilling and enjoying the Rest and Relaxation they duly earned.

Semana Pascua is when, according to Nancy, the “directors” or bosses go on holidays with their families.  Instead of sleeping on the beach, they are renting the finer establishments.  The restauranteurs appreciate this as money is poured into the community, their businesses.  What’s fascinating to me is that the smaller Madre y Padre places make money during Semana Santa.  The taco stands and roadside bars probably flourished having their best week of the year whereas the restaurants suffered that very same week.

sunset view from our casa, Sayulita
sunset view from our casa


A number of places close during Semana Santa.  I assumed this fact was due to store owners and workers taking a holiday.  And in part, that is a likely scenario.  But Jorge, a local tienda propietario, shared the darker side of Semana Santa, the thieving.  Since then, I learned that along with the smiling, happy, campers, Semana Santa is given only a luke warm reception by many Sayulitan locals.

Semana de Basura
Semana de Basura

The shelves in the tienditas were emptied of essentials, some tiendas closes all-together to avoid the hassle and the petty theft, buildings were tagged, and then there was the basura.  Take a seat and a deep breath with me. I am about to commence a new basura rant aka basurant, which is why I’ve been calling this week Semana de Basura.

Basura de Semana Santa and the Basura Warriors

Tracie Willis, owner of Choco Banana, took the lead to rid the town and beach of garbage.  While Sayulimpia continued to do their part, the influx of basura was totally out of control.  It’s unfathomable to comprehend the massive amount of garbage that can be created in just a few days. Tracie was giving out (biodegradable!) bags to all the volunteers who united to conquer this problem. And there were a number of local volunteers including the Padre, Father Ignacias.  Imagine seeing the Padre in his robe walking the beach and handing out basura bags!  Me with my bucket and he with his own (biodegradable!) bag, Scott and I gratefully took a few dozen extra bags from Tracie to hand out. We weren’t sure how it would be received (gringos handing out bags to Mexicans), but turns out folks were quite receptive.

Necessita una bolsa para la basura?

This is a sentence I mastered in Spanish. Do you need a bag for the trash? It was a delight to see folks take the bags and know that a few animals may have been saved as less plastic and crap were going into the ocean.  A few small children and a couple of sunbathing adults joined in to help us briefly.

Why is basura (garbage) feminine?
Come to think of it, why is bolsa (bag) feminine too?

Check out the Semana Santa beach cleanup by El Sayulero.

Get ready for some basura-ugly…
It was was overwhelming. What was needed is an army of folks to clean this up. OR here is a novel idea: The beach-goers could STOP LITTERING. The degree of unconsciousness is unconscionable. 

Cigarette butts on Sayulita beach
Seriously, who does this?!
Tents near the north end of town - an overwhelming amount of garbage
Tents near the north end of town – an overwhelming amount of garbage
Litter, beach, Sayulita
Oy. So, hey, you sitting in your tent. Enjoying the view of the beautiful beach?
Basura, Sayulita
It goes on and on and on. This is NOT okay. Ever.
This photo taken by Tracie Willis of ChocoBanana
This photo taken by Tracie Willis of ChocoBanana
A bucket o' education about butts
A bucket o’ education about the harmful effects butts to wildlife – I spotted a lot of folks reading my bucket.
“Please help the animals and keep a beautiful beach, throw away your butts! Thanks for packing your trash!” I spotted numerous folks reading my bucket.
The river, Sayulita
The river
River, litter, basura, Mexico
I call this one “Birds and Coke Bottle in the River”
THIS is how the beach should be.
THIS is how the beach should be.

Scott and I spent a half day (unfortunately the hottest half) on the beach (I forgot to put sunscreen on my back – oy) picking up several hundred butts, many plastic bottles, bags, food wrappers, and styrofoam pieces.

My big question, why is litter such a ubiquitous problem?  Boggled Mind.  Thousands of campers come to this gorgeous beach to have fun.  This is a good thing.  The fact they trash the beach is a bad thing.  Most of these folks are young.  My generation-gapped self thinks THEY above all others should know better.  Is there really that much apathy about the environment?

Now, as I read the Sayulita People facebook page, some of the areas that were so meticulously cleaned got retrashed just days before all the campers departed.

Folks come to Sayulita mainly to enjoy the beautiful ocean.  Would they not want it to stay beautiful for their future enjoyment?  Is it possible that humans are so short-sighted that we are willing to destroy today that which we need or want in the future?   Wait.  I know the answer to that already.

Little did I know when setting out to write this post that it would turn into a basurarant.  Then again, little did I know that the most holiest of (Catholic) weeks here in Sayulita would turn into a basura dump.  I imagine some would not be pleased to know that I call this, the most holiest of weeks, Semana Basura.  So, let me see if I can muster up some good news so that we all don’t leave here depressed.

Yes, yes, indeed, I can.  The locals in Sayulita, headed by Tracie Willis, are joining forces to put a more solid plan in place for next Semana Santa, for the future of basura in its entirety.  Enough folks are frustrated about cleaning up other peoples’ sh!t to be more proactive. While Scott and I won’t be here much longer, my hope is that some education is a part of this process. As Scott and I were walking among happy sunbathers picking up the basura in and among their chairs, their children, and their camp sites, we also talked with them.  They were reading my bucket.  And a few (very few) pitched in.  If they understand that the ocean’s purpose isn’t to wash clean the trash from the beach, and if they understand that the garbage doesn’t magically disappear but instead creates harm upon entering the ocean’s gate, maybe they will change their ways. Just maybe.

North end of Sayulita Beach
From a distance…pristine.

“It is a curious situation that the sea, from which life first arose should now be threatened by the activities of one form of that life. But the sea, though changed in a sinister way, will continue to exist; the threat is rather to life itself.”
~Rachel Carson, (1907-1964) The Sea Around Us, 1951

“We have forgotten how to be good guests, how to walk lightly on the earth as its other creatures do.”
Barbara WardOnly One Earth, 1972


*Photos and stuff*  Please contact me for permission to use images and text for commercial or private use.

This is Mexico Post #11, to see the other Mexico posts, click click click away

Mexico Post #1, Me and My Trimalleolar go to Mexico with my Husband and our Pooch
Mexico Post #2, Dos Americanos y Su Perro en Mexico
Mexico Post #3, Feliz Ano Nuevo 2013
Mexico Post #4, Ballenas, Ballenas Hermosas
Mexico Post #5, Una Visita Morelia
Mexico Post #6, Mariposas Monarcas!
Mexico Post #7, Los Pueblos de Patzcuaro, Paracho, y Tzintzuntzan
Mexico Post #8, La pintoresca ciudad de San Miguel de Allende
Mexico Post #9, Guanajuato, Guanajuato
Mexico Post #10, Back to Sayulita and Jaime Visits!
Mexico Post #11, Semana Santa y Semana Pasqua
Mexico Post #12, Semana de Animales
Mexico Post #13, Semana de Amigos y Amigas
Mexico Post #14, Frida y Diego
Mexico Post #15, Adiós Sayulita
Mexico Post #16, Living and Grinning in San Miguel de Allende
Mexico Post #17, Puddle Jumping in San Miguel de Allende
Mexico Post #18, Guanajuato International Film Festival
Mexico Post #19, Ciudad de Mexico/Mexico City: Colonia Condesa, Colonia Coyoacán, y La Casa Azul
Mexico Post #20, Ciudad de Mexico/Mexico City: Chapultapec y Centro Historico
Mexico Post #21, Ciudad de Mexico/Mexico City: Museo Nacional de Antropologia y Templo Mayor
Mexico Post #22, Living the Dream in San Miguel de Allende
Mexico Post #23,  Viva la Independencia! 
Mexico Post #24,  Adios San Miguel
Mexico Post #25,  Valle de Bravo y Teploztlán
Mexico Post #26,  Ciudad de Oaxaca
Mexico Post #27,  50 Shades of Green: On the road from Oaxaca to Chiapas
Mexico Post #28,  San Cristóbal de las Casas
Mexico Post #29,  Almost Halloween Ed.: Dark Mountains,  Foggy Cliffs, Witches, Jungles & Shamans
Mexico Post #30, Veracruz, Tampico y Estados Unidos

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