The Preparations for the Ceremony
The preparations for an auto-da-fé began once the Inquisition had collected a significant number of reconciled and relaxed heretics.
The ceremony most often occurred on a special feast day or coincided with another solemn religious holy day that served to bring together the largest viewing public possible. The formal preparations began with an official convocation and announcement of the event.
The Inquisitors ordered a formal procession through the major streets of Mexico City by the Inquisition's many familiars and notaries, who proclaimed the upcoming date of the ceremony and invited the public to attend the event with promises of gaining plenary indulgences and other spiritual benefits.
Carpenters and laborers then began constructing platforms, stages, and stadium-style seating, as well as the benches, tables, and other furniture the ceremony required.
The project also included a specialized covered platform for the preferential seating of the inquisitors and other official guests.
The Inquisition in New Spain often spent lavish sums of money to stage these celebrations, and the job often took the carpenters and laborers more than a month to complete.
During the final weeks and days before the scheduled event, several other important activities occurred.