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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Travel Tales: Semana Santa en Espana

Holy Week in Spain
A few years ago we happened
to be in Spain for Holy Week.
We hadn't planned it that way,
it was just when our kid's 
Spring Break happened to fall.

We had stopped into this
church in Madrid and inside
were 2 huge structures that
looked something like parade
floats.  We thought maybe
they were something for the
Lenten season but as we were
leaving we saw a poster on
a bulletin board with photos
of these structures.  The poster
told of a procession and then
we all recalled the Holy Week
Processions through the streets
of many Spanish towns.  We
thought they couldn't possibly
carry these huge things though.

On Palm Sunday we decided
we would head over to try to see
 the Procession that was
scheduled for that evening.

While it was still light out
we arrived in this square
around the corner from the
church and waited for
darkness to come.

We could hear the procession
before we could see it.  There
were many marchers, including
men in black robes and pointy
black hoods.  A band marched by.
We think perhaps members of
the Royal Family since a group
had so much security around them.

Then the structure we saw
in the church came by.  It
was being carried on the
shoulders of men underneath
it.  As they became exhausted,
others would be sent in to
take over.

Then the structure with the
statue of the Virgin Mary
arrived.  It was filled with
candles and dripping hot wax.
It was absolutely beautiful.
We thought this would be
a touristy thing but no, we
were with locals, most only spoke
Spanish.  One young man
could speak some English and
he explained the local people
would go to the many
processions that would happen
throughout Holy Week.

It was a tense moment as the
structure with the Virgin Mary
was going up that small street
between the buildings.  It started
swaying and looked like it was
about the hit into the walls of the
building but they regained control
and the procession continued.
For all of us, this was a very
solemn and moving experience.
A great way to spend our last night
in Spain.

1 comment:

  1. You were there at the right time! Lovely to be a part of a traditional celebration and not just another tourist event! Nice photos!!


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