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La Merced in Mexico

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Third day of La Merced Festival in Mexico, all black powder, smoke, and explosions

SAN CRISTOBAL DE LAS CASAS, Mexico- The streets were decorated with a single, neat line of black powder, every fifty feet or so there was an M-80 set upon this line, primed to explode. A crowd of people gathered at the beginning of the row of black powder, a man with a cigarette gave it life.

I missed the events I am retelling above, but Sam from Cubicle Ditcher gave me this report in full, along with a collection of well composed photographs.

Sam wrote:

They put a line of black powder down the streets with an M-80 or something spaced every meter or so. They lit the black powder and you heard M-80′s go off for about 30 minutes with some band playing behind the flame moving down the street.

We met up later and he explained with excitement how the line of fire moved down the  street consuming the black powder and exploding the large fire crackers. He added that the crowd of pious celebrators followed the flame, the explosions, and the marching band down street in respective order on this holy day.

This was one of the main public events of the third day of La Merced festivities in San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico. This was a holiday where a thousand people paraded through the streets immaculately dressed as ghouls in dresses, it was a holiday where the were a flaming row of black powder ignited the streets, it was a celebration replete with M-80 firecrackers exploding everywhere amidst the blaring of marching band horns, this was a holy day whose traditions I could never have expected or even dreamed up in this colonial basin in the far south of Mexico.

And it was all for the Virgin of Mercy.

Photos of La Merced festivities

The following photos are used courtesy of Sam from Cubicle Ditcher.

lighting the black powder with a cigarette

lighting off the festivities with a cigarette

The start of the black powder lighting

Black powder and fire crackers ready to be engulfed in flames

Black powder and fire crackers ready to be engulfed in flames

Line of black powder in front of marching band

Putting down the black powder on the street

Crowd standing behind smoke and flames at the La Merced festival

Black powder on fire exploding fire crackers

La Merced festival in Mexico

La Merced festival in Mexico

Read the first story on the La Merced festival in Mexico at La Merce, La Merced Parade and Festival.

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Filed under: Celebrations, Mexico, North America, Religion

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 76 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3054 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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