Friday, April 22, 2011

Semana Santa Processions in Spain

I have now watched four different sets of Semana Santa processions in Spain and, from my very limited perspective, they are a mix of pageantry and community party. There may be a touch of religion, but tradition and ritual are far more important. And the alcohol starts flowing the minute the procession is over.


Everyone, from very young to very old, participates in the parades. I saw mothers carrying youngsters and fathers shaking their heads over kids who no longer wanted to beat their drum.

The parades are super informal. Someone will drop out of the procession to hug a bystander. There are huge gaps between sections of the parade, with family and friends following “their” section.

The processions are very informal. There are a few police officers and cars to clear the streets of traffic, but no barricades. Amateur photographers will stand in front of the procession to get a good photograph.

Jesus proceeded through the streets of Jumilla on a donkey on Palm Sunday, and he stopped for photo opportunities with babies and young children! The Spanish version of photographs with Santa Claus.

There were multiple processions in Valencia this morning. At one point, looking up a side street, I could see three processions all moving in different directions.

The Maundy Thursday procession wended its way through the dark, rainy streets of the fishermen’s quarter of Valencia last evening. The drum beats reverberated in the narrow streets – it was unforgettable.

The slideshow includes photographs from the Palm Sunday procession in Jumilla and the Good Friday procession in the old fishermen’s quarter of Valencia. I hope they convey at least a little of the colour and party atmosphere.

Semana Santa Processions - Jumilla & Valencia

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