Good Samaritan Day

At the beginning of the Lent there could be seen many people giving refreshments for free at churches, schools, businesses, parks, and streets. The fourth Friday of Lent, three weeks before Good Friday, this tradition is celebrated in Oaxaca. Big pots with flavored water are decorated like wells, with bricks, most cases wrapped with paper-like-brick, and arches of palms added with bougainvillea flowers.

The tradition of the Good Samaritan Day is based on the passage of the bible when a woman offers water to Jesus. The passage, described by John, tells the encounter of Jesus at Jacob's well with a woman in the city of Sicar or Siquem. In Oaxaca fruit flavored water is given to visitors and passerbys as a rooted local custom. People who visit Oaxaca in Lent can enjoy refreshing fruit drinks and also ice cream which are given out free.

The tradition began in churches and atriums but, it become more popular when schools and establishments joined to it. It is believed that the tradition began at the end of 19 century, probably at the churches of San Francisco and La Merced in Oaxaca city. The most typical flavors are Horchata, made with rice and flavored with Cinnamon, Jamaica made with dried hibiscus flowers. In some places people prepare the beverages with Chilacayota, a fiber pumpkin grown in Oaxaca.

Many women dress in their typical clothing in this tradition that represents the spirit of politeness and gentlyness of people from Oaxaca, people who like to share and be good hosts.

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