Easter – Madrid

Better late than never

Easter brings to mind the celebrations we saw in Madrid a few years ago. This will be one of the many postings that have been made on the subject, but it is definitely one of those things that leaves its mark on the mind of the observer and, every Easter since we were there I think about it, and the continuing social and religious traditions it represents.

We have some nighttime video but, as I’m too cheap skate to upgrade this site, I can’t upload video, or the soundtrack, for which I apologies.  However, after filleting out some of the frames showing the carrying of the spectacular religious images through the streets, here are a few grainy, atmospheric images.

This particular group was going through just outside our hostel, as the procession made its way from the bottom of the road in the Puerta del Sol up to, around the outside of, and then into the Plaza Mayor, where people were sitting on high balconies and hanging out of windows, looking down on the huge crowds and dancing icons.

theinfillclicks - Semena Santa, Madridtheinfillclicks - Semena Santa, Madridtheinfillclicks - Semena Santa, Madrid

Much is written about these events but nothing compares with the feelings evoked from standing on the streets and seeing such devotion to an expression of religion and strength of feeling for their individual church associations and religious iconography.  Some walk in bare feet and carry scourges, other carry crosses and many participants seem very young.  Then there’s always whatever feelings rise in you, the outsider, on seeing the traditional costume as worn in above image.

Overall it is an amazing sight and sound and there seems to be little or no problems within the watching crowds, which are packed with families.  Each religious figure is applauded by the knowing spectators as their teams of bearers carry out the difficult manoeuvres round the streets, doing swaying movements and making the figures dance and float along to the choreographed count of steps and reverses.  All the pictures available cannot conjure up the atmosphere of keenness, or the sounds of the accompanying bands of drummers and trumpeters that each church association musters for their part of the parade.

There are daytime processions too – the one we attended in the rain had a team of young drummers accompanying the Virgin.  Because of the downpour the very young looking team, dressed in the monk style habits, brought her out in her beautiful, gold bullion embroidered clothing to show her to the crowd and carefully took her back, closely observed by mantilla-ed ladies, sombre suited gentlemen and members of the Church. (Again this is a frame from a video.)

theinfillclicks - Semana Santa, Madrid

Later in the week we were strolling around in the evening and came across a team of men wearily stowing away all the paraphernalia of their church and association until next year, and wondered if many of them had been the ones with the honour of carrying their religious icon dancing and swaying through the crowded streets.

PS: 2 evenings on the trot the system has eaten this posting – here’s hoping this one works 🙂 – make that 3


2 responses

  1. Evocative!

    April 11, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    • Thanks, it is a strangely mixed memory and experience, I have to say, but you can see why it repeats itself in my mind’s eye each year, can’t you? Thanks so much for dropping by.

      April 12, 2012 at 8:38 am

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