Spring in New Mexico has many constants. Wind, allergies, and, of course, the inconstancy of weather. One day it’s chilly, the next day it’s warm, and since it’s Easter on Sunday, we should experience some kind of snow or freezing rain — predicted or not. That’s just the way it is.
Another constant, of course, is tradition of pilgrims leaving the comfort of home to take to the road. Whether headed to El Santuario de Chimayó, up the hill in Tomé or to various churches in villages across the north, pilgrims persevere on their journeys of faith. Holy Week is the busiest time for such pilgrims, with tens of thousands of people expected to visit the santuario this week as the faithful prepare to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday. Pilgrims have been walking since last week at least, but the pace picks up during Holy Week. Busiest of all is Good Friday, when pilgrims can wait as long as two hours to enter the small room near the altar at El Santuario. There, the faithful bend down to scoop out a handful of dirt, which they believe to have healing properties, to carry home with them. It’s a tradition stretching back before the santuario was built between 1814 and 1816. Even the area’s original inhabitants believed the area was a place of healing. That sense of calm, of healing, of comfort, continues to shelter believers and curious alike to this day.
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