It has been Holy Week in Spain since we arrived and today (Sunday, April 8th) marks the end of a series of “procesions” happening daily in the villages and cities throughout Spain. Seville, in the Andalusia province, seems to be the epicenter of the Easter processions, but as we cannot make it there on Sunday, we will watch several processions in Granada where my daughter is living. *note: if you call these processions “parades” many of the Spanish people will not understand you.
While they celebrate the passion of the final events surrounding Jesus Christ’s life (especially the betrayal, the crucifixion, and the resurrection), it is not a light, frivolous type of parade celebration, but rather a respectful, somber remembering. The raucous, lighter celebration in Seville comes later, at the end of April. This is know as the April Fair and is apparently a very merry celebration with plenty of eating and drinking revelry.
The processions start at the churches and end at the church, and there is usually only one float per procession. The float itself is artistically intricate and is comprised of pieces of artwork that reside in the church itself all year long.
One of the astounding things to me is the floats are carried on the backs of people (men), all adding to the pain and suffering that surrounds the Easter events. The men bear the floats on their head and necks and carry the floats in 20-minutes shifts. The floats can weigh up to 2 tons, and it is said that some men carry the float until they collapse.
The hooded penitents, talked about in an earlier post, lead the procession, swinging incense and setting the serious tone. The penitents are often followed by a band with beating drums or wailing singers… introducing the float. The finale on Sunday is typically a float of the Virgin Mary, representing the hope of resurrection.
After the processions and lunch back at Senora’s house, we took the cab up to the Albaycin to view the Alhambra. The Alhambra is noted in all the travel books as a sight not to miss, and I’m sure it is spectacular. Based on our own individual interests and time constraints, we chose to view the Alhambra from afar (the top of the Albaycin) and not take a tour of the inside.
The Albaycin area itself was such a throwback to the 70′s for Cris and I. It seemed to be a utopian mecca of hippies enjoying themselves in the same way they did back in our own college days in Eugene, Oregon.
The first person we came across was the harpist with dreadlocks, and as the smell of marijuana increased, so did the number of dogs and smiling hippies (not to be confused with hipsters). The similarities of the Albaycin to Eugene in the 70′s were remarkable: juggling, marijuana, lots of dogs, long hair (though dreadlocks had not come in at that time), love/peace/community, and the need of hot showers.
The things we noticed that had changed were: the dogs did not have scarves on their necks, there weren’t as many nursing moms and babies, and there were a lot more tatoos. Ah, love that some things remain the same even in the new world of technology.Google+