Sunday, April 8, 2012

Semana Santa: Domingo de Resurrección en Alicante 2011

Easter Sunday. Domingo de Resurección. Holy Week is over and the Church is rejoicing for Christ has risen! This makes for a very joyful procession on Easter morn! ;o)

I've only seen an Easter Sunday procession once before, when I was visiting a friend in a small town in Murcia about a decade ago, and it was something else! Very festive, big happy crowds, dancing thrones... (yes, the throne bearers made them dance!!! must have been exhausting) Quite a contrast from the sombre processions during the Semana Santa. I didn't expect it to be quite as much fun here in Alicante (small towns are always better than cities for these holidays!) when I went downtown last year,  and I was both right and wrong! The public were more onlookers than active participants, but those participating made sure it was a grand and joyous event! In any case, everyone was smiling (and cheering), which is always nice to see!

In Alicante only two figures participate in the procession for Domingo de Resurrección: Christ and the Virgin Mary. Each of them leaves from a different church (Christ from the Cathedral, the Virgin from the Iglesia de Santa María) and it is timed so they meet up in front of the Ayuntamiento at 12 noon and then head out together from there.

I made it down to the Plaza del Ayuntamiento with plenty of time to spare, and still only got a spot in the second row behind the barriers! Little by little the Plaza started filling up. Just in front of the Ayuntamiento doors  representatives of different Hermandades started gathering (they all participate together on Easter Sunday).

On either side of them were "regular" people who obviously knew they had to show up bright and early to get the best viewing spot. This one lady even brought a special friend with her! ;o)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Semana Santa: Procesión del Silencio en Callosa de Segura

It's Holy Week again! Better known in Spain as Semana Santa, when towns and cities all over the country host processions almost every day (sometimes more than one in a day) between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday. Last year I wrote quite a few posts about the processions in Alicante, but I couldn't find time to finish up the posts I had planned... so here we go again, better late than never! :o)
There are often several processions held on the same day during Semana Santa, each telling a part of the story of the passion of Christ. The most moving procession held on Holy Thursday is called the Procesión del Silencio (the "Silent Procession") and basically it commemorates Christ's crucifixion and death on the cross. It's a reminder of the sadness felt by the faithful at the death of Christ, and in a way could be considered a funeral procession. Only two pasos participate: the image of Christ crucified and the Virgin Mary in mourning (often called la Virgen de los Dolores or "Our Lady of Sorrows"). They are accompanied by a silent population, walking to the beat of a lonely drum, with only candles to light the darkness.

la pequeña Paquita!

 My first year back in Spain, I went with my parents on Holy Thursday to see the Procesión del Silencio in Callosa de Segura (much more info here if you can read Spanish), a small town in the southern part of the Province of Alicante. Not exactly next door, plus it meant driving home really late. So why go all the way down there for a procession? Trip down memory lane! My mom actually participated in the Holy Wednesday procession as a child one year when her family was living in Callosa in the mid-1950s (they moved around a lot), and she wanted to revisit the town during Holy Week! 

We had a lovely walk around town and dinner, with my mom pointing out places she remembered, and then we headed over to the 16th century Iglesia de San Martín from whence the procession was scheduled to start.