Friday, April 29, 2011

Semana Santa Part 3.

As I said in Part 1, Emily and I had gone and watched one of the processions for Semana Santa before we left for Edinburgh. When we returned to Motril after our below trip to Scotland we made our way to another procession. For both I took some video, and I edited some of it and posted it below. Enjoy. Sorry if you aren't too entertained by it, but I think it is some interesting stuff...

Things to watch for:
-The tunics worn by those in the procession. Most will see them and think the Klu Klux Klan, but it was actually the KKK who took the idea from the Catholic Church and the processions (ironically the KKK was very anti-Catholic). They wear them as a sign of anonymity as they walk in the processions. Although, you often see the people lifting there hoods to say hello to friends or family in the crowd as they are walking. Each night the tunics are different colors, most notably all black on Thursday and Friday.
-In the second clip, there is a man holding a pole, and he is using that pole to keep a power line above the street lifted above the float as it passes by. You can here me say "cleared it" as it passed under the line (about 2:17)
-The style of the floats. Three of the four floats are carried by men who are underneath the float. The other is carried by men using exterior poles. The underneath style is more typical, and give the float its "floating" feel. Also, look at the exquisite design of the floats--gold, silver and the statues. If you have ever entered a Catholic church in Europe, you have seen something like that.
- The bands. The band members come in all ages and sizes. It is not exactly the most impressive ensemble, but that adds to the effect of the procession.

It is a major part of the Spanish culture and I could not believe the crowds that came out to watch the processions in Motril. They are best known in Seville, but happen throughout Spain. Many of my students participated in them, and as you might hear Emily in part of the video, she saw some of her students in the one we saw the second night.

I really don't know the history behind these processionals, so I will fail you on that part (which usually doesn't happen that often in regards to historical background), but it is definitely a cultural phenomenon that has been part of Spain and the Catholic Church for centuries (and other countries with a strong Catholic connection). I think they are still well known and done throughout Spain because of the political atmosphere around Spain and Franco. Franco, during his dictatorship rule, was a devout Catholic and was close with the Church. In fact, during the Civil War, that is how he gained much of his support--from the Church. Therefore, he might have been a strong believer in sticking to the tradition during his rule, and is why Spain is still so well known for having these processions. That is only my hypothesis though...

You can read more about Motril's Semana Santa processions here (hopefully your browser has a translator), and more about Semana Santa in Spain and the processions here.

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