Thursday, April 5, 2012

Semana Santa

To start, here's a little background information about Semana Santa that I found on a website:
Spain celebrates Easter Week much more than most European countries. During the whole of Semana Santa, (Holy Week), street processions are organised in most Spanish towns each evening, from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday.
People carry statues of saints around on floats or wooden platforms, and an atmosphere of mourning - which can seem quite oppressive to onlookers - and the Easter week processions end with Easter Sunday, a day full of light and colour when church and cathedral bells are heard ringing throughout the country.

In some of the processions, marchers wear clothes reminiscent of the klu klux klan. Infact their clothes are meant to depict the NazareƱos, people from Nazareth. The religious fraternities and brotherhoods are responsable for carrying the statues and organising the penitents and musicians. The NazareƱos follow the people who carry the floats bearing sculptures and models of biblical scenes.

The people who carry the weight of the floats are called "costaleros" and are expected the carry these "thrones" with solemnity and grace. They use a small cushion, "costal" to protect themselves from getting sores from the wood rubbing against their skin during the long processions.
In summary, it's a really big deal in Spain.  Considering that it has honestly rained about twice in the three months that I've been here, it was SO SAD that Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday it rained every day.  On Monday my friend Amy and I walked over to Plaza Nueva around 5:30PM because we wanted to watch the Salida (exit), of one of the floats from the church.  The procession was supposed to leave at 6PM.  They even opened up the church doors anticipating the start of the procession.  Pretty much right at 6:00 it starts down-pouring.  There were a ton of people all waiting to watch the parade but everyone quickly left to take cover from the rain.  The people who take part in the parades practice all year for this event, and they cry when they can't  have their procession.  
Wednesday it finally didn't rain in the afternoon or at night.  It did pour that morning though.  In the morning I put on my rain coat and decided to go for a rain run, which was actually sort of fun.  In the afternoon Amy and I went to a cafe for tea and to do some studying.  After the cafe, I finally got to see the processions.  They were so interesting and different!  Then I met up with some of my friends for tapas.  Three of them had parents here visiting, so they came for tapas too.  We went to three different places, one of them being bar Poe because I suggested it and none of them had ever been there before.  Killian's dad even paid for my friend Sarah and me at Poe's because he said "since you two don't have parents here." It was so nice of him!  We had to find alternative routes when walking from place to place because we kept running into processions in the streets that we needed to go down.  Tonight is the procession of silence, which is supposed to be really cool to see.  I am definitely planning on watching more processions today. 

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