Ilivetolearn's Blog

April 21, 2006

pageantry of all types

Filed under: Spain — ilivetolearn @ 11:32 am

It’s hard to find a US equivalent for the Semana Santa processions…they are a bit like a Memorial Day parade, an elaborate Christmas pageant, and New Orleans on Mardi Gras all rolled together. Though I have read that the religious aspects of the processions are important and that the silent ones are somber and reverent, all the ones we saw were upbeat to say the least…a party atmosphere, in fact. As the figure of the weeping Madonna or suffering Jesus was carried past, the spectators were moved not to cry or pray but to applaud.

In Lorca, near Murcia, there is a famously raucous rivalry between two confraternities—the blue one, devoted to the Virgin of Dolores (suffering) and the white one, devoted to the Virgin of Amarguras (bitterness). The figures borne through town include Nero, Tiberius, Cleopatra…and the list grows yearly. There are also hundreds of Andalusian stallions prancing around. I think we’re there next year.

And for this year, our next attempt to soak up Spanish culture at a traditional festival will be a Moors vs. Christians battle re-enactment…there’s one the second Sunday in May in Mallorca. Sounds like a good way to spend Mother’s Day. We can compare it to Washington crossing the Delaware on Christmas Day in our old neck of the woods. Somehow I can’t imagine the Spaniards getting quite as involved in the strict historical authenticity (buttons vs. zippers) of the event as the US Revolutionary War buffs do.

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