In her last years, my mom was convinced she was a part-time prophet of Jesus. I didn’t doubt her, except for her story about Moses having a gun, which caused him problems in the desert.

Her best prediction was regarding Jesus’s second coming. My mom was certain it would happen in Detroit, on a Friday at five PM.

“He won’t be riding a donkey, but will show up in a limo,” she’d nod.  “Wolf Blitzer will be there, too.”

Oh, the joys of Lewy Body dementia, I regress. But if my mother were around to visit me in Lima? I’m sure she’d have an update.

“Forget Detroit. Jesus will arrive in Peru!”

With eighty percent of the country being Catholic, Christ and Virgin Mary are as important to Peru’s culture as llamas and pisco sours. So, saying Easter is big in Peru is an understatement. This holiday is beyond all Hallmark holidays rolled together. Heck, you can even throw in Superbowl.


Actually, Easter is so big, Peru needs a week to celebrate, known as Semana Santa or Holy Week. Each city has their own holiday touches. In Arequipa, police officers carried shrines of Christ and Mary. In Puno, school children had their own parade.

On Good Friday, I made it to the city center of Lima to see what was happening. The lines to get into famous churches like the sixteenth century La Iglesia de la Merced rivaled lines at Disneyworld. Police monitored the crowd, as their dogs sniffed around chorizo vendors and street artists.

While you can’t find Easter baskets or green grass, you can find an assortment of palms to offer Mary in Peru. It’s no different than what I experienced a few months ago in Bangkok at the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple at Silom Road. Folks lined up to give offerings to Genesh (the elephant head god), Maha Mariamman (goddess of weather), and Karthik (god of victory). The only difference being workers recycled the offerings, brushing off wreathes of marigolds and bunches of bananas, and then reselling on silver plates to unknowing pious visitors.

But no recycled bananas on this Good Friday in Lima. A wide selection of Jesus items could be purchased on the streets and in a multitude of shops. However, to my disappointment, no Easter candy could be found in the country. Not one marshmallow peep in the Lima. No Cadbury Eggs or jellybeans in the Plaza de Armas. Not even those large marshmallow eggs that are reminiscent of circus peanuts. They don’t color eggs, either.

Many shops were closed on Good Friday, even in Lima’s hot tourist areas. Peruvians stayed home, abstaining from their Pilson beer to reflect and eat fish. Ceviche, yes. Chocolate bunnies, no.

Considering Peru has some of the best chocolate in the world, this is truly a sin. I wonder what my mother would think of that.

On Saturday night, there will be an Easter vigil. On Easter Sunday, there will be mass. And then, it will be over.

Or as Jesus said, “It is finished.”

1 thought on “Viernes Santo (Good Friday)

  1. You always leave me smiling after reading your texts. Love the descriptive!!!
    Happy Easter Ginger!

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