Saturday, 11 April 2009

Easter Eggs and Easter Processions and such.

Well, Good Friday came and there were no hot cross buns. Mind you they are not exclusively for Good Friday in the UK any longer. They appear in the shops not long after Christmas, as do the Easter eggs.

Now Easter eggs never used to be part of the Spanish tradition, except in Catalonia which has always had to be a but different, but they are here now although only in certain cakeshops and sweetshops. There are no huge displays in supermarkets with offers of three for the price of two, in fact none at all in the supermarkets where I shop!

There is an expression in Spanish meaning to be a party pooper, aguar la fiesta, literally to water down the party. Now this is what happened to Maundy Thursday's procesion de la pasion here in Vigo. People gathered outside the Church of the Sacred Heart, a most unlikely looking church situated on the ground floor of a multi-storey building.

The imagenes were waiting in the patio of the school across the road, ready to be brought out for the procession. The sellers of soggy doughnuts and other sweet stuff had set up their stalls at various points on the route of the procession along Rosalia de Castro.

And then it started to rain ... and rain ... and rain!! As the water started to flow in rivers down the street, I gave up and went home. The local papers report the disappointment of the organisers and the congregation who had worked to prepare the procession.

Good Friday, however, dawned reasonably fine. Christ and Mary set out from the concatedral and made their way separately by different routes up the hill to the Plaza de la Constitucion for the encuentro, the meeting where Jesus would bow down to salute Mary.

Stern-faced ladies (well some of them were stern-faced) in long lace mantillas accompanied the procession.

One little girl in the procession looked very bored.

The priest gave a serm
on which, suprisingly to one brought up in Methodist/low-church Anglican tradtions, seemed to concentrate less on the crucifixion than on the sufferings of Mary.

In the evening, a different set of imagenes emerged for the entierro, the burial. Mary Magdalene supported the figure of Christ. Mary, his mother, was all dignified sadness in solemn black.

The band played mournfully. (
I have to say that the band could not hold a candle to the brass bands of the North of England. This band would have no chance in the Saddleworth Band Contest. Mind you, in the Saddleworth Band Contest they can choose more cheerful tunes!)

Although there were penitentes in plenty, none of them were flagellating themselves as happens in the more dramatic processions of Sevilla. There was also less wax in evidence than in the processions in more southern cities where so much is spilt onto the streets that car tyres squeal as they go round corners in the fortnight or so after Easter.

Semana Santa in Vigo is perhaps less spectacular than in Sevilla or Salamanca but I got the impression that it might be a little more intimate.

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