Unfortunately, I am not writing this post from first hand experience.
Today is a special day in New Mexico. Good Friday signals for many 'believers'* the annual 'walk to Chimayo', a pilgrimage for many to the small 300 year old spritual town of Chimayo, New Mexico, north of Santa Fe.
Every year on Good Friday tens of thousands of people walk to a church in Chimayo in observance of the Easter Holiday.
Sheltered in a little valley in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Chimayo hisotrically has been known for its fruit and chile production as well as cattle grazing.
The Santuario de Chimayo was built around 1815 to house a crucifix that, according to legend, was founnd in the dirt at the site. Long before the arrival of the Spaniards and Christianity it was considered by Native Americans to be a sacred spot.
During Holy Week, peaking on Good Friday, pilgrims walk miles to the santuario, a few toting large wooden crosses. They trek 10 miles from neighboring towns, 30 miles from Santa Fe and 90*** miles from Albuquerque!!!!!!
At the church they scoop up handfuls of dirt locally dug and blessed by a priest that many believe has healing properties.** The dirt is rubbed on your body or it is taken home. It is a very devout and spiritual exercise for those involved.
Although it would be an interesting experience...I don't really think the people on the walk would like me taking photographs of them and bascially playing a dumb tourist. I would; however, like to take a trip to the church on my own. I'll keep you posted.
*I am a lapsed Catholic.
** How about this on a t-shirt: "My brother made the walk to Chimayo and all I got was this dirt". I'm bad...I know I'm real bad. [K-Mo, put in a good word for me if you go first, ok..thanks buddy.]
*** No way in hel...uhm..heck am I gonna walk 90 miles for dirt!!!