Guest Author - Rachel L Webb
Andalucia sings, the week of Easter, from Priego de Cordoba to Velez-Malaga, not forgetting Marchena and Mijas the Easter processions or Pasions draw thousand of people to the streets.
Some bring candles, others leave their shoes behind to walk barefoot, Iíve even seen some on their knees, following the swaying virgin processing slowly ahead.
During their golden age XVI, XVII AND XVIII brotherhoods across Andalucia celebrated the death of Jesus Christ with renaissance and baroque carvings of Jesus and Mary.
During the Civil War, the fiestas ceased and many of these idols where destroyed or burnt, but today some survive to reign over the streets as they have for centuries before. Amazing richly carved figures, adorned with gold, tears and often drops of blood from the Crown of Thorns meander the streets.
In recent decades the festivities have been given the status of National Tourist Importance, and the already massive street parties are drawing international crowds.
Swaying thrones and trumpets blasts announce the coming of the enormous platform in my area containing only the virgin. Under the platform six men, on rotating duties carry the enormous weight.
This throne plods slowly and stops reverently, behind which the even slower crowds follow the chosen route. In my hamlet it differs, one year they go up the road the next they go down the road, whichever route they have to turn around and return to the chapel.
When the virgin returns to the chapel forecourt, she does a little jig and the bearers are then relieved and applauded. The virgin is locked away for another year and the men get jugs of beer after their not so minimal exertion.
The Processions are loud and colourful, parties to some, penance to others, whatever your view and feelings of the affair itís an incredible atmosphere to be part of, and the Spanish do like to party, which can be bigger than the procession.
If itís the precious antique statues that you want to see, then a new museum has been opened in Velez-Malaga in Malaga Province. Opened in February 2007 it is full of the regalia of Semana Santa throughout the year and also shows an audiovisual production of the seven days of the passion, death and resurrection of Christ taken from the procession in Velez-Malaga.
So if you canít get to a procession at Easter the next best thing could be a museum visit.
This year 2007, the processions in Sevilla are going out live on their website abcdesevilla.com