Monday, December 7, 2009
Built in the mid 18th century, the Sanctuary of Atotonilco has been a place of retreat and pilgrimage since 1880. As many as 100,000 faithful converge on this small village each year to experience some of that suffering.
In groups of 5,000 to 10,000, they descend during 30 weeks a year, sleeping in cold cells, crawling around the sanctuary on bare knees, wearing crowns of thorns and whipping themselves.
Tip: Rejoice, Levelers, it's flat here!
The sanctuary is known for its sculpture, too, notably Our Lord of the Column. Miracles have been attributed to it and at the beginning of Holy Week celebrations it is carried in a midnight torchlit procession the seven miles from Atotonilco to San Miguel de Allende where it remains through that week.
Tip: Sunday, market day, you'll find more vendors, residents and visitors.
Atotonilco is so close to San Miguel it makes a good stop if traveling to that city or a good day trip from there.