Tag Archives: semana santa

Semana Santa Procession Below

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Another exceptionally beautiful – almost private – Semana Santa procession in Zahara de la Sierra. The crucified Christ passed under the window late last night on a bed of roses, followed by a saint I didn’t recognise, our Lady of Dolores amid flowers and candles, the nun, the village elders . . . and the band. And then they passed under the kitchen window on the other side. Just one more to go, I think.

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Semana Santa Processions 2

Wednesday’s Semana Santa procession clashed with Real Madrid v Barcelona. Half the village was drinking beer and shouting at the football on screens in and outside the bars; the rest getting antsy under the float bearing Jesus on the cross, or sitting by the church in serge suits polishing their trombones, or smoking and checking their mobiles dressed in klu klux klan outfits – actually, the long gowns and hoods representing someone’s idea of the garb of the Nazarenes, or people or Nazareth. In the end the grand and sombre procession set off on the dot of half time. It did a circuit of the village, this time adding in a long 1:4 hill, and the band played and marched for two hours. They are now no longer rusty after the winter hiatus.
There was a five-minute hold-up part-way through when Madrid scored, and the band and Nazarenes, and many of our neighbours behind, had to loiter around the corner until decorum was restored, and people had been pushed out – temporarily locked out – of Bar Nino to pay their respects to the passing procession. On the whole, the villagers juggled loyalty to the church and loyalty to football slickly and in well-practised fashion. Once Jesus was back in the church at around 12.30am, the men who’d been shuffling underneath him made it to the bar for some hours of refreshing drinks. I recognised their shoes.
The sight of dark hooded figures en masse is dramatic and chilling; and maybe weirder still when you come across two or three leaning against the wall of your house shooting the breeze. They also look odd when they’re texting.
We’re gearing up to the Good Friday procession and Easter Sunday now. The tables outside white tables and orange tables and Bar Gallo are full of revellers, a horse just galloped up the road, some kids are playing with a whistle that makes squawking duck noises, the Guardia Civil are moving the barricades around, and it’s 25 degrees.

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Semana Santa Processions

Semana Santa, and the village band has dusted off the drums for the first of the year’s many, many processions. Like most, Friday’s procession of the Virgen de los Dolores began in the plaza at 10pm, and involved a circuit up the street at the back, and down the street at the front. I think it’s fair to say the band is rusty.

The Virgen de los Dolores will have five more outings between now and Easter Sunday, born aloft among lilies and candles on her glittering silver float by costaleros who – given the steps and inclines – make regular pauses while the nun sings saetas through a megaphone. The shadow of the caped Virgin on the white walls can look quite menacing as she lurches past.

I’d gone home to fetch a jumper when I filmed this; the processions are the usual local mix of solemn and sociable, and sacred and funny – except the silent ones of course, and best followed on foot.  Semana Santa is huge across Spain, but particularly in Andalucia, and, specifically in Seville (where there are 60 or so processions) and Cádiz (where you should find a spot along the route from Plaza de Candelaria, Calle Montañés, Plaza del Palillero, Calle Novena and Calle Ancha and stay there until Easter Sunday. Moving, less overwhelming, and with easier parking, there are extraordinary processions taking place in local villages. Being biased, I would say processions through the white villages of the Sierra de Cadiz, are not to be missed.

Dates for your diary, Zahara de la Sierra

Miércoles Santo, 16 de Abril: 22:00 Estación de Penitencia de Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno. Itinerario: Plaza del Rey, C/Manchega, Avda. Andalucía, Boquete San Juan, Plaza San Juan, C/Ronda, C/Alta, Plaza del Rey, y a su Templo.

Jueves Santo, 17 de Abril: 20:30 Procesión presidida por el Santísimo Cristo de la Vera Cruz. Itinerario: Plaza San Juan, C/Ronda, C/Nueva, C/Barrero, Avda. Andalucía, C/Manchega, Plaza del Rey, C/San Juan y Plaza San Juan.

Viernes Santo, 18 de Abril: 20:00 Estación de Penitencia del Santo Entierro de Cristo, San Juan Evangelista y Nuestra Señora de los Dolores. Itinerario: Plaza del Rey, C/Manchega, Avda. Andalucía, Boquete San Juan, Plaza San Juan, C/Ronda, C/Alta, Plaza del Rey y Parroquia.

Domingo de Resurrección, 20 de Abril: 12:00 [mass followed by] procesión del Cristo de la Sagrada Resurrección y Nuestra Señora de los Dolores en sus Misterios Gloriosos. Itinerario: Plaza del Rey,C/Manchega, C/Barrero, C/Nueva, C/ Ronda, Plaza San Juan, C/San Juan, Plaza del Rey y Parroquia. O bien Plaza del Rey, C/Manchega, C/Barrero, C/Nueva, C/Alta, C/San Juan, Plaza San Juan y Ermita.


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