Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A big disappointment Miércoles Santo: Cofradía del Mayor Dolar

Wednesday of Holy Week, Miércoles Santo, is much anticipated by Antequeranos as the Spanish Foreign Legion arrives to carry the tronos in the procession that night.

The day is organised by Cofradía del Mayor Dolor and two tronos are carried: El Señor del Mayor Dolor (The Lord of Greatest Sorrow)and Nuestra Señora la Virgen del Mayor Dolor (Our Lady the Virgen of Greatest Sorrow.)

The day's proceedings are in two parts. At media dia a reception is held in Iglesia de San Sebastián, the host church, where civic dignitaries and committee of the Cofradía meet representatives of the military forces. Then the Foreign Legion marches the length of the main street, Infante Don Fernando, to the Plaza San Sebastián in front of San Sebastian church to parade for the thronging crowds, accompanied by thumping bands. Plaza San Sebastián is a default main plaza, as Antequera does not have a Plaza Mayor as such. It has a paseo and several significant plazas.

I´ll come clean and admit that Deb took the following photos. I wasn´t there as I had gone for a bike ride. I was saving myself for the procession that night. Like it was going to be way differant to the proceeeding three nights!

Big mistake. As if from nowhere, it rained that afternoon. It had ceased by start time but the decision was made to cancel the procession. Out of respect for the safety of the tronos carriers on wet cobblestone streets, and the safety of the tronos, and spectator safety as well I guess.

Huge disappointment. I witnessed grown men sobbing, clutching each other. Tears streamed, some men were unconsolable. It was quite distressing.

So. Here's the midday event.

Dignitaries mingle outside Iglesia de San Sebastián:

With the Foreign Legion presence, media interest was high:

The Foreign Legion threads its way through thronging crowds on its way to Plaza San Sebastián ...

... and parades in the Plaza outside Iglesia de San Sebastián. Those are real guns. The Foreign Legion is not going to take any nonsense from Antequeran trouble makers. And they had heard there was an Aussie and a Kiwi in town. They can never be too careful.

Crowds crane for better viewing ...

... and photos are taken from best opportunities.

Kids climb all the best vantage spots:

The Legion parades El Señor del Mayor Dolor to the expectant crowd. Note the guy in the background who has climbed the outside of a building to perch on the outside rail of the first floor balcony.

In a display of strength, the Legion lifts the trono to full arm´s length height as they round the fountain in the centre of the Plaza. You´ll notice the round of clapping the crowd gives.

So. Thanks to Deb, else Miércoles Santo would have been a total non event for me. Apart from seeing some very distressed people that night.

aka Max

Martes Santo: Cofradía del Rescate

Holy Tuesday, a procession of the Cofradía del Rescate, hosted by the congregation of the church Iglesia de la Santisima Trinidad.

Again I´ll suggest, read the first of the Semana Santa postings: Semana Santa: something else again! to get an understanding of what is happening.

This was a slightly, only just, smaller procession in that there was only two tronos: El Señor del Rescate and the Nuestra Señora la Virgen de la Piedad.

Bands are a big opening item.

There was the Purple KKK (I should probably stop calling them that).

... and then the Reds.

Just one last time: KKKKK - Kindly KKK with Kid.

And some scary hooded jokers.

Teenage girls play their part. All quite amazing. I wonder if their parents have the major say in this.

El Señor del Rescate

Not hooded, but nearly as scary ...

Be warned girls, you've had a glimpse of what grandma has turned out like.

Members of the congregation of Iglesia de la Santisima Trinidad join in behind the trono. You will notice it is mostly women. The men are carrying tronos, or are hooded carrying crosses. But in the case of the older guys they are there in spirit, taking up a position in a bar having una or dos cerveza, y un surtido de las tapas (one or two beers, and an assortment of tapas), smoking cigarettes like mad things, and raising a glass as the procession, and their wife, passes.

Nuestra Señora la Virgen de la Piedad

That's three down: four to go.

aka Max

Lunes Santo: Cofradía de los Estudiantes

Holy Monday: Cofradía de los Estudiantes. Host church: Iglesia de San Francisco.

I am suggesting, if you haven't already, read the first of the Semana Santa postings: Semana Santa: something else again! to get an understanding of what is happening here.

Cofradía de los Estudiantes carries three tronos. They are Santo Cristo Verde, Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno de la Sangre and the Nuestra Señora la Virgen de la Vera Cruz.

These processions are long affairs, taking many hours. About 100 metes, and not 15 minutes, into tonight's procession and a little tyke, five years old if that, bursts into inconsolable sobbing: ¡Yo tengo hambre! I'm hungry! Harden up kid, if you ever want to grow up and carry one of the trono you bettter not let the big boys of the Cofradía see you crying like that. Mum gave him a packet of potato chips, and that did the trick - for then.

This night was the first sighting of the, at first impression, breath taking KKK-like robes

The trono, Santo Cristo Verde, a very large and heavy crucifixion.

The second trono depicts Christ carrying the cross: Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno de la Sangre

There are many youngsters sticking it out for hours, doing a remarkably great job.

This little fellow was still blowing away hours later.

And the trono that always gets the little old dears dabbing the tears from their eyes, the Virgin. In this case, Nuestra Señora la Virgen de la Vera Cruz.

This parade was every bit as big as Sunday night's, however I've tried to reduce too much repetition.

aka Max

Domingo de Ramos: Cofradía de La Pollincia

This is it. Palm Sunday - Domingo de Ramos. The day all have been looking forward to. The start of Semana Santa, Holy Week, and the week of daily processions, kicked off by Cofradía de La Pollincia.

The previous posting Semana Santa: something else again will explain a lot. I'll post a few photos on this the first night to help you visualise.

The host church is Iglesia de San Agustin. Three tronos are paraded. El Señor a su Entrada en Jerusalén (The Lord's entrance to Jerusalem), El Señor Orando en el Huerto de los Olivos (The Lord´s speech in the olive grove) and Virgen de la Consolacíon y Esperanza Coronada (The Virgen of consolation and crowning hope). All three quite magnificent.

The procession is lead by Roman legionnaires...

Next comes the officialdom of the Cofradía. That's the mayor, Ricardo, on the far left. He isn't a member of the cofradía, but just cannot help himself if there is a photo opportunity. We call him Senor 'en la sopa' - A Spanish expression literally translated as 'in the soup', meaning he is everywhere. He'd turn up for the opening of an envelope if a camera was to be there.

Next comes the start of many, many attendants. The girls, of course are demure and attentive ...

... and the boys rark about.

the first of the tronos: El Señor a su Entrada en Jerusalén ...

The procession lines up behind:

more attendants ...

The second trono is El Señor Orando en el Huerto de los Olivos:

All the tronos are decorated with cherubs.

... and more attendants

every vantage point is taken

care is taken with every detail ...

incense levels need checking ...

The third trono is the beautiful Virgen de la Consolacíon y Esperanza Coronada

Her garments are just lavish.


And this is just the first night.

aka Max