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Celebrating Semana Santa & Pascua in Puerto Vallarta

March 23, 2018

An estimated 1 out of every 5 Mexicans - around 20 million people - travel during the Easter holidays, and Puerto Vallarta is one of the most popular places for those looking for a few days of fun-in-the-sun.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - Each spring, Christians around the world celebrate Easter, memorializing the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In Mexico, the Easter holidays are a two-week celebration, combining Semana Santa (Holy Week) and Pascua (Resurrection Sunday until the following Saturday.)

The celebration is one of the oldest traditions in Mexico, an artistic & cultural event, celebrated by all who attend whether or not they share the Catholic beliefs. Most of the celebrations involve solemn processions, plays, or reenactments of biblical scenes; others incorporate unusual elements into festivities such as prehispanic dances and fireworks.


Easter week starts on Palm Sunday (March 25) when churches across the city celebrate the blessings of the palm fronds; in observance of Maundy Thursday, locals hold all-night vigils. On Good Friday, the city streets are colored with spirited religious processions and Passion of the Christ re-enactments. On Easter Sunday, visitors will not find any Easter bunnies or egg hunts. Most locals have a quiet and relaxing day. Almost everybody goes to morning mass and enjoys a peaceful afternoon at home.

But Semana Santa is much more than a religious occasion. A time of national vacation and "spring break" from schools, it is also a festive occasion, a time of celebration that lasts two weeks, when people come together to socialize and enjoy themselves.

Tourism authorities estimate that one out of every five Mexicans - around 20 million people - will travel during Holy Week, and Puerto Vallarta is one of the most popular beach destinations for nationals looking for a few days of fun-in-the-sun.

The influx of tourists means that there will be one heck of a party wherever you go, as families camp or spend the entire day frolicking at the beach. Area hotels will be at peak capacity, streets overrun with cars and buses, and convenience stores won't be very convenient for the next two weeks.

The week following Easter Sunday is called Pascua, which is the celebration of the Resurrection. Pascua marks the release from the sacrifices of Lent, which gives everyone an excuse to eat, drink, dance in the streets, and "paint the town red."

While it may sound a bit chaotic, Semana Santa and Pascua are probably some of the most festive and exciting times to visit Puerto Vallarta. If you wish to witness the beauty of traditional Mexican culture - and enjoy the excitement of a two-week-long party in Puerto Vallarta - Semana Santa and Pascua would be well worth experiencing for yourself.

Editors Note: As we begin the Semana Santa/Semana Pascua holidays, the need for blood in Puerto Vallarta increases significantly. Please consider giving the Gift of Life, keeping in mind that donation requirements in Mexico are different than in the United States and Canada. For more information, click HERE.