Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Annual Holy Week Pilgrimage to Chimayo

Guests of The Hacienda Nicholas Bed & Breakfast Inn are fascinated to learn of the annual pilgrimage to Chimayo that happens every year over Holy Week.  During this time thousands of the faithful will walk up to 100 miles on their way to the Santuario de Chimayo.  For some the walk is a demonstration of their devotion to the Church, while others may walk to honor a loved one, to seek penance, or in hopes of receiving spiritual or physical healing from the curative powers of the shrine's holy dirt.  The Santuario, built in 1816, is believed to sit on sacred earth which has miraculous healing powers.  It is also sometimes known as "The Lourdes of the West". 

On Good Friday, the highways to the north of Santa Fe leading to Chimayo are packed with walkers, causing traffic to slow to a snail's pace.  Some walkers carry on the tradition of walking with heavy wooden crosses, though these days many of the crosses are fashioned of styrofoam, making the trip much easier.  By Easter Sunday the church will have received tens of thousands of visitors.

For those visitors wanting to get a real taste of New Mexico's strong culture and faith, I would recommend joining this pilgrimage for at least a mile or two.  Should you make it all the way to Chimayo and are looking for sustenance, I suggest stopping in at Rancho de Chimayo for some hearty Northern New Mexico fare and a margarita to whet your whistle after such a long walk.

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