What Religion Means to Me

With Passover beginning today and with Easter taking place this Sunday, I spent some time recently thinking about religion. On my travels, I’ve traveled to majority-Protestant countries such as Anglican Great Britain, and to majority-Catholic countries like Mexico. I have had the good fortune to visit majority-Muslim countries such as Turkey, heavily-Buddhist countries like Thailand, mixed-religion countries such as India and the United States, and Communist countries like China, where Atheism is officially encouraged but where most locals actually worship the State.

Of course, those descriptions are broad and somewhat simplistic. As such, I hope you don’t get too wrapped up in the semantics. Allow me to continue.

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Passion Runs High in Iztapalapa

I lead an English-language conversation club twice a week. Last Wednesday, I asked one of my students to bring in an article to read to the class. She selected an article about Semana Santa (Holy Week/Easter Week) traditions in the Catholic community. Only half of the class was Catholic, so the article prompted a lively discussion to say the least.

I won’t politicize this blog entry; that’s a subject for another day. One of the topics that came up in our small group discussion was the importance of Palm Sunday, Good Friday, etc. observations among Catholics and Christians in general. As it happens, I’ve spent several of the past Semana Santa weeks in various Spanish-speaking, majority-Catholic countries, and it’s not uncommon to find daily (or nightly) processions through the streets, with locals dressed as Roman soldiers or paying penitence for their belief that Jesus died for their sins. Culturally, it is quite the spectacle.

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