Thursday, April 5, 2012

And Then Along Comes Mary

The rains held off last night and, a little after midnight, we heard the beating of drums and the blare of trumpets heralding the arrival of the first procession to make it to our plaza this year. It was led by a multitude of "penitents" in brown robes, walking two abreast and carrying large red candles.

PENITENTS IN BROWN LEADING THE WAY.

Following the penitents was a float held aloft by I'd guess about two dozen men. They were hidden from view by the heavy brocade drapery, but we watched the shift change right below our window.

THE GUYS IN RED JACKETS ARE WAITING TO TAKE THEIR PLACES CARRYING JESUS.
(THEY'LL BE TOO OLD TO CARRY SAN GERALDO IN 2016.)

THE CHANGING OF THE BURLY GUARD.

The float carrying Jesus was followed by a large marching band (the source of the drums and horns) and then more penitents, this time carrying white candles.

A LOT OF CHATTING GOING ON DURING THE SHIFT CHANGE.

The penitents were of all ages, some so young that a parent walked along beside them (in non-penitential street clothes). A group of altar boys carrying white candles in stunning silver holders followed this group of penitents. And then along came Mary.

MARY'S CONVEYANCE. TOO HIGH UP TO SEE HER FACE
(AND I DIDN'T FEEL LIKE JOINING THE CROWD DOWNSTAIRS).

A lawyer's office is on the floor below ours and they had invited guests to view the procession from their balconies. As the paso carrying Mary came by, I looked down and saw that their guests had large boxes of flower petals on each balcony that they tossed in handfuls onto the passing float. It was a beautiful sight and the crowd on the street applauded enthusiastically, although the marching band that followed Mary probably didn't appreciate all the flower petals that found their way into the tubas and French horns.

FLOWER PETALS STREAKING FROM THE BALCONIES.

Now, the Madruga ("madrugador" means "early bird") approaches. The Madruga is the most special night of Semana Santa in Sevilla. It takes place between Holy Thursday and Good Friday. Jesús del Gran Poder (Jesus of the Great Power) is carried from his home at 1:00 in the morning heading for the Cathedral. On his return trip, he passes by our plaza 6-1/2 hours later, around 7:30 Friday morning. It's the only other procession I plan to see and I look forward to getting some better photos in daylight.

A BLOCK AWAY FROM HOME FOR BREAKFAST THIS MORNING.

Meanwhile, today, Holy Thursday, gave us a glimpse of another tradition. Women all in black wearing mantillas and veils. It was interesting to contrast the traditional women, looking very elegant and somber, and other women in the same basic costume, looking very fashionable and sexy (which I have a feeling is not what The Church has in mind).


HOLY THURSDAY.

DOWNSTAIRS AFTER BREAKFAST.

HEADING INTO OUR PLAZA ON THEIR WAY TO CHURCH.

18 comments:

  1. There needs to be an encyclical or Papal Bull that directs "No cha-cha heels on Maundy Thursday."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Will:
      But they look so hot. (I had to look up "cha-cha heels"!

      Delete
  2. I'm sure that if they had them, Mary would have worn stilettos too.
    After all, she was Jesus's mother. She had an image to uphold.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stew:
      They would have been a real problem in that desert sand!

      Delete
  3. Hello Mitch:
    This is a fascinating insight into the Holy Week traditions of Seville. Your balcony certainly does afford a most marvellous view of the parades. We thought that the idea of throwing flower petals was just lovely, although, as you say, whether the bands people agreed is doubtful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. J&L:
      The flower petals were beautiful and the spontaneous cheer from the street was heart-warming. The procession had been going for about 8 hours at that point; I don't think the band really cared anymore what happened.

      Delete
  4. The ladies look as though they are attending an Inquisition or maybe a Mob funeral! Not a track suit or pair of trainers in sight! Amazing stuff.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Owl Wood:
      The "mob funeral" reference made me laugh out loud and now that's all I can picture. Sevillanos are more chic than Southern Californians. The only track suits I've seen have been on the American tourists.

      Delete
  5. The photos are great! Thanks for the inside look at the festival. I must say that it looks more like a party that a religious event. And nothing says party-time like men in long black garments with cones on their heads!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ms. Sparrow:
      Sure beats those church-basement women, doesn't it?!?

      Delete
  6. Great photos Mitch! Brought back lots of memories (good ones) when I was an altar boy holding candles...we were called acolites. That being said, this is all very mind-boggling to me now. Question: Are the churches packed every Sunday of the year in Spain?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! Now I can't get the song out of my head!! lol

      Delete
    2. Jim:
      My impression is that there are many more "cultural Catholics" here than devout ones. And, no, I haven't seen packed churches every Sunday. (But then with churches everywhere one looks, I suppose there are more than enough to avoid crowds.)

      Delete
  7. Replies
    1. kisatrtle:
      And just wait for Feria next week!

      Delete
  8. So, Mitch, you have four years to prepare for the procession of San Geraldo....what will be thrown from balconies? Minature chocolate Geraldos?
    Also, what will the dress code be? I think there's a lot to be said for the "come as your favourite Dolce & Gabbana advertisement" as captured in your photos. As for the penitents, not my thing, but, hey, it's their 'look' and they are certainly working it!
    Thanks for sharing all of this.
    ¡que le vaya bien!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Catherine:
    I LOVE the idea of miniature chocolate Geraldos! As for dress code, if it were up to San Geraldo... cotton lounging pants, a sweatshirt, and down-filled slippers (now THAT would make a really interesting procession).

    ReplyDelete

Tell me what you're thinking...
Dime tus pensamientos...