As you can probably tell by its name, Semana Santa is celebrated very differently in Spain to the way the British celebrate it. It seems that in the UK, Easter has completely lost its original significance. Initially Easter was a Christian festival, a time to remember the Jesus’ crucifixion and celebrate his resurrection. Nowadays, this seems to have all been forgotten as people instead concentrate on the giving and receiving of chocolate Easter eggs. Shameful… (Don’t worry, I’m guilty of it too)
|Throne-carrying at the Alhama procession on Good Friday|
|One of the huge thrones at the Lorca procession|
Semana Santa started on Friday 7th April (Viernes de Dolores), and continued until Easter Sunday (Domingo de Resurrección) on 16th April. These 10 days were filled with a series of street processions, expositions, masses in church and general festivities. I went to four street processions in total, and even though each one shares certain characteristics, to my surprise they were all completely different.
|Nazarenos carrying a throne in Alhama|
|Nazareno of my first procession in Murcia|
|Jueves Santo procession in Murcia|
|The boy dressed in white and red is swinging the scented lantern |
whilst the girl next to him carries a thorn crown
and the Nazarenos behind carry a throne
|Carrying of the throne with the real-haired Jesus|
|Members of the paso colorido|
|Nazareno of the paso blanco|
|Spot those sweet-filled hands|
The second procession of Viernes Santo I went to took place in the nearby town of Lorca and is becoming more and more famous as the years go by. If you fancy taking a look at the trailer from previous years, click the link here. It was made up of Nazarenos from each cofradía as normal, but also included horses and members wearing spectacular embroidered clocks called bordados hand-stitched with gold thread. Huge floats were presented which were jaw-droppingly impressive and supporters of each paso (blanco y azul) waved their pañuelos (hankies) shouting “viva el paso blanco/azul” (long live paso blanco/azul).
|Pretty multi-coloured feathered head pieces|
|One of the magnificent floats, which transported |
Roman God figures through the centre of the crowds
|Horses and riders wearing bordados preparing |
to perform stunts down the parade "runway"
|p.s. don't judge my awful camera skills: moving targets |
and broken phone camera are not a good combination
The final procession I watched was on Domingo de Resurrección in my town, which was packed full of residents dressed in their Sunday best and eager to get a good spot. By “good spot” I mean a place where you could see all of the magnificent thrones - which were even more packed full of the most beautiful flowers – dancing in time to the music played by the bands, the releasing of the dove and the uncovering of the Virgin Mary on one of the thrones to reveal her wearing a beautiful dress. It was another magnificent procession and you could really feel a sense of unity and happiness amongst the crowds and residents, especially when they shouted “¡viva Alhama y sus habitantes!” (long live Alhama and its residents!). *Link to the video of this perfect Easter Sunday celebration is here*
|One of the amazing Easter Sunday thrones|
I ended Easter Sunday allowing myself to indulge on biscuits and sweets which I had successfully given up for lent, and witnessing one beautiful red-skied sunset. And although I did somewhat miss the chocolate-oriented Easter celebrations I’m so useful at home, the way Easter is celebrated here is so much more than that, and I feel humbled to have been a part of it.
There’s plenty more I could talk about in this post regarding what else I’ve been up to these past few weeks, but through fear of boring you all to death (if you’re still reading, that is) I’ll save my other recent adventures for another post.
So until next time, or as the Spanish say ¡hasta luego!