Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA
Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Semana Santa - Part 2 - Cathedral Procession, Centro, Seville, Andalusia, Spain

Same angle of view as yesterday's post, but a different sky. Looking north along the reviewing stands in Plaza de San Francisco, the big question is, will that building storm disrupt the processions today.

At least one procession was cancelled on the previous day due to rain and thunderstorms. Imagine the disappointment for the participants - spending the entire last year preparing and anticipating this event only to have it canceled. And spectators come from around the world to observe the celebrations, swelling the city hotels, restaurants and shops for the week-long event.

Adjacent to the procession route, many bars/restaurants are doing a booming business midday before the first brotherhood passes by.

This group is heading into the Cathedral of Seville before continuing on the main route.

You may have noticed that the penitents (Nazarenos) frequently have their hands near their chins.  It seems the hoods are top-heavy and must be pulled downward to keep the eye-holes properly aligned for sight.

They carry the big, heavy candles even in the daytime in preparation for lighting at dusk.

It is common for penitents to walk bare-foot or in stockings.  It is also common for parents or other family members to drift in and out of the procession providing snacks and drinks to keep the walkers healthy.

Somehow, there is always just enough room for the entire entourage to pass through the crowd.

The two men on the left are holding long poles to keep the many candles lit on the paso (float).

Each paso has men at the corners providing verbal and audible commands to the costaleros underneath who carry the float. Since the carriers cannot see, they must rely on the eyes of the corner guards.

Immediately behind a paso, there are usually scores of believers walking in faith and solidarity.

Some groups (brotherhoods) have multiple bands, and pasos, and as many as 2800 penitents walking in the procession.  It takes almost two hours for some to completely pass by a given point and the entire route may last from 8-12 hours, some beginning late afternoon and marching into the following morning wee hours.

On Good Friday, the processions begin after midnight and last throughout the night into the daylight hours.

A family member, supporter, or one of the faithful marches beside. I noticed that those who carry crosses do not have the pointy part of the hat in place.

Each brotherhood has its own hood, cassock, accessory and candle color to distinguish it.

They see a lot of cameras pointed at them in this day and age of smartphones and amateur photographers.

By my count, there are close to 60,000 penitents who participate in the processions, add in the musicians, teams of costaleros, and other support personnel and you can start to understand the scope and scale of this event.

After a week of seeing this celebration, it has become normal to see folks in robes and pointy hoods. It is a great reset in my psyche to replace the symbolism with something of faith and peace and love.

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