Pilgrims flock to Tomé Hill, Chimayó for Good Friday

[anvplayer video=”5171459″ station=”998122″]

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — During Holy Week, many New Mexicans of faith make the pilgrimage to either Tomé Hill or El Santuario de Chimayó, especially on Good Friday.

Hundreds, even thousands, of pilgrims make these treks every year from all over the state. Chimayó is around 28 miles north of Santa Fe, while Tomé Hill is around 24 miles south of Albuquerque.

Some pilgrims even walk from Albuquerque to Tomé Hill. Many don’t see it as a long walk, though. They see it as a deeply spiritual journey and an important time to reflect.

“I’ve seen people climb on their knees, I’ve seen people climb without shoes, so there’s a deep dedication from a lot of the people that come that they are really doing something in honor of their deceased, in honor of someone who sick. They just to come and purify themselves for the Easter season,” said Andrea Padilla, president of the Town of Tomé Land Grant.

Many people carry crosses with them to the top of Tomé Hil. However, if you do that, you can’t leave yours up there or else it will be removed.

If you hike up the hill, remember a few things too:

  • No animals allowed
  • Don’t mess with the wildlife as many living organisms there are endangered
  • Remember to pick up your trash

“Just behave, be good to each other and enjoy the sacredness. It’s a beautiful spot and we want to continue to do this for hundreds of years in the future,” Padilla said.

The pilgrimages date back hundreds of years before New Mexico was even a part of the U.S. Because of its importance and popularity, state transportation officials are taking extra steps to ensure walkers stay safe.

“There are areas of concern, such as I-25 and US 285, where there are high speeds walking through that areas but they [walkers] have designated signs and wall barriers along the path so walkers can be safe and walk on the side of the highway in those high speed areas,” said Kimberly Gallegos, of the New Mexico Department of Transportation.

New Mexico State Police are also directing traffic coming into El Santuario de Chimayó and Tomé Hill. If you’re traveling in this area, be cautious and slow down.

People will be walking throughout Good Friday and this weekend, so beware.

Diana Castillo and photojournalist Theresa Monjaras were out early Good Friday morning and saw pilgrims on their trek already. See the video above for more, including a Chopper 4 shot of Chimayó.