Viernes de Dolores: An Altar for the Virgen de Dolores in Guanajuato, Mexico

This was a small performance for Viernes de Dolores, the Friday of Sorrows that begins Semana Santa, inspired by the Guanajuato Virgen de Dolores altars. One of the most sumptuous and popular celebrations in Mexico is Semana Santa (Holy Week), which begins with the Viernes de Dolores (Friday of Our Lady of Sorrows), celebrated the last Friday of Lent. It is dedicated to the seven sorrows that Mary suffered before and after her son’s death. Widespread in Mexican homes in the 18th century, the tradition of putting up the altar of sorrows dates from the 16th century. The altar was meant to comfort the Virgin Mary, who eight days later would suffer at her son’s death. For more information on Guanajuato’s altars, click here and here.

Below are a few examples of public altars in Guanajuato: the first at a neighborhood fried chicken shop, the second at a funeral store where coffins are made, and the third in the lobby of a government building.

Our performance took place on the terrace entrance area of our colonial home and included floral elements, ribbons, masks, and lights

See more pics here.