How the Pascua Yaqui in Guadalupe celebrate Easter with a 400-year-old tradition

By Lauren Gilger
Published: Friday, April 15, 2022 - 12:46pm
Updated: Saturday, April 16, 2022 - 11:50am

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Guadalupe, Arizona sign
Sky Schaudt/KJZZ
Guadalupe, Arizona, is now home to about 6,700 residents.

The Yaqui of Mexico are an ethnically Indigenous population with deep connections to Guadalupe, Arizona.

The Yaquis adopted Catholicism during the early colonial era, and many of today’s Yaqui traditions are rooted in that period in their history.

Today, the Yaqui community in Guadalupe celebrate their heritage during Lent with rituals that date back some 500 years.

Juan Tavena is a captain in the the Lenten Society in the town of Guadalupe and one of the organizers of the town’s Lent and Easter ceremonies. The Show spoke with him, and he explained what makes this celebration unique.

The ceremony and traditions date back to the early 1600s in Mexico. The dances, instruments, masks and costumes are all part of the long-standing tradition.

The community opens parts of the ceremony to the public, and anyone who goes will see a display of not only faith, but community as well. Visitors are asked to respect the Yaquis’ wishes to not take photos, recordings or drawings of the ceremony.

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