We had an amazing cultural experience yesterday, Good Friday, going to Quito’s Good Friday Procession. We didn’t have the chance to go last year and we had heard so much about it that we decided that we couldn’t pass it up this year since we were here in Quito.
To explain, Quito’s Good Friday Procession is a Catholic Church tradition of following the footsteps of Jesus on his walk to the cross. But more than that, it is the opportunity for many Catholics to engage in the Catholic sacrament of penance where they suffer (literally) for their sins in the past year as a way of seeking forgiveness. These ways to suffer in this procession include carrying a huge wooden cross, wearing a crown of thorns or barbwire and/or chains on their feet and also not wearing shoes on the blistering hot asphalt as they walk the 5 miles of the procession. Some penitents took it a step further by wearing crosses made from cacti strapped to their back, wrapping barbwire around their body or lashing themselves with some kind of cord or chain.
Though we aren’t quite on the same page theologically speaking, we did very much appreciate the cultural experience and understand that many of the people were very sincere in the faith.
With the pictures below, unfortunately the clothes that the penitents (purple robes with pointed hoods) wore has a different meaning in the States. No, these are not Ku Klux Klan members; rather they are Catholics acting out their Christian faith in a way that is very important for them.