Thursday, May 29, 2008
Resurrection Sunday, Easter Sunday, and the last day of the processions that make up the Antequera Semana Santa, Holy Week.
This procession is different to all those held earlier in the week, and in evenings, in that it is held mid-morning (well 12 o'clock is only mid-morning here). As a result I made my way past a waiting crowd as I came back from my club cycle ride.
But I still have a photograph for you thanks to Google images. And, thanks to an Jose Antonio, the photo taker. As it is I know about 150 Jose Antonios in my bike club, and there's another 200,000 of them here in this 45,000 people town.
So, here is the only trono in this particular procession: El Señor Resucitado (The Resurrected Lord), organised by a Agrupación de Cofradias de Pasión de Antequera. And for the record, the procession starts and finishes at Iglesia San Juan de Dios.
For me, this Semana Santa has been an experience I will treasure.
It's big, firstly, in that there are three processions this night. And all three are what we would call 'in our hood' or en nuestro barrio as the locals might say. Secondly and what the Antequeranos really look forward to, is two of the processions finish their route by running the tronos up hills. A sensational effect.
I'm going to present the three processions in an order relating to where we live, and therefore our 'involvement'.
Firstly, the Cofradía de la Soledad, from Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Carmen. This church is not so far from where we live (well fairly close really, as nothing is too far in Antequera) on the less direct route to town - the way we sometimes go if we want something different, to take in a view of La Peña.
The next two are real locals. If you take the direct route from our place to town it is up and over a hill, and it would stretch it to be half a kilometre to Plaza San Sebastián. From home it´s 150 metres at a stretch to Plaza Portichuelo, and the Iglesia de Jesús (home to Cofradía Arriba -meaning above or top). 200metres down the hill, and perhaps 100metres up from San Sebastián is the Basilica de Santo Domingo, where Cofradía Bajo - below, is housed.
Both these processions attract huge crowds, at 1:00 -2:00am, when at the completion of their processions, the tronos are run back up to their respective churches. Cofradía Bajo runs the 100metres non-stop up from up the sharp Cuesta la Paz back to the Basilica. It's a nasty little climb to have to shoulder the trono and run jammed up against the person in front also carrying. It's bad enough carrying our shopping home!
The tronos carriers of Cofradía Bajo get a rousing applause at the start of their procession as they take the tronos straight from the church and immediately up some steep stairs to a road the Cofradía Arriba will run up later. As a result Cofradía Arriba takes a longer, zig-zag path home to the top. They are not going to be up to run Cuesta la Paz and the stairs!
Cofradía Arriba runs a first leg, quite steep but worse to come, from San Sebastián up Cuesta de Zapateros (I should remind you Cuesta means a steep Calle - street. We, for example, live in Cuesta Real.) They have to take a break there as it is a 90 degree turn in a very narrow street. Always a tactical move for the tronos. Then another 150 meters of uphill but much more gentle Calle Viento, where they take a break on the corner at the top of the steps from the Basilica before the last big push, the 200 metres steep uphill up Calle Caldereros back to Plaza Portichuelo. These are amazing scenes to witness.
What's amazing is that all the teenagers of Antequera treat it like their running of the bulls, and this screaming mass preceeds the grunting, huffing, groaning trono carriers. Crowds, including ourselves, pin themselves to the walls to avoid the mayhem. Paramedics also line up at 10 metre intervals - for crushed spectators and collapsed trono carriers.
Anyway. Onto the processions.
Cofradía de la Soledad, from Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Carmen:
There are two tronos carried in this procession. Firstly, Santo Entierro de Cristo.
And the second is yet another beautiful Virgin trono: Virgen de la Soledad.
And as is the norm for the Virgin trono, she is depicted weeping.
The two tronos assemble back at Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Carmen before being taken back into the church. This is a routine completed at the end of each procession. But seeing as it was fairly close to home, we saw it this time. Also, we were killing some time before heading off to watch the other two processions run up the hills. It was pretty quiet here, most people are back at the steep steets awaiting.
The expressions say it all. It is a long night, and these guys have carried the trono for hours. It has to be heavy. And progress is made by not much more than shuffling.
But, being local we got to see preparations for the Cofradás Arriba y Bajo taking place. These next few photos show preparations, pre-event parties, and people either making their way up or down to Basilica de Santo Domingo, for the Cofradía Bajo procession.
Last minute adjustments: everything has to be just right.
A couple of quick pre-event sherries no doubt.
A fine military band leads the way for the Cofradía Bajo procession.
Followed by crucifix and standard carriers.
Trono de Cofradía Bajo, Niño Jesús Perdido (the lost child Jesus)
Dulce Nombre de Jesús: Sweet name of Jesus
Santo Criso de la Buena Muerte y de la Paz: Holy Christ of the great death and peace.
And this is Nuestra Señora la Virgen de la Paz Coronada. Our Lady, the Virgin of the crowned peace. (These have been my literal translations, without knowing how they might be more correctly translated by a practising Catholic.)
This is the mad rush that is the running of the trono up Cuesta de la Paz.
Attendants hurry along the kids running in front. Notice the guy in front using a long staff to 'assist' with shunting people along. A paramedic is seen on the other side of the street.
We got to 'party' a little before the start of the Cofradía Arriba procession. My bro, BOK and Sally and the boys Reece and Aidan were visiting for Easter. Plaza Portichuelo, as I have told before, is home of the 'shithole' - Bar Socorrillo and the troops of El Rgimiento de Infanteria Ligera Regulares número 52 de Melilla (phew!) that would be escorting the tronos of Cofradía Arriba had made it home. And they were in a great mood. They demanded photos betaken of them, and with us. They were a great lot.
With bro, BOK, and one of the Regulares, and a round of Cruzcampo cerveza.
Deb was snaffled, a fez-like cap stuck on her head and for the first time ever she held a real gun.
Sally, Reece and Aidan entertained by another of the Regulares.
Cofradía Arriba, not to be out done, has its hooded devotees.
Jesús Nazareno Ayudado por el Cirineo: Jesus of Nazareth helped for the (something?)
El Rgimiento de Infanteria Ligera Regulares número 52 de Melilla may have rarked around at Plaza Portichuelo, but for the next five hours they didn't flinch. That is until they got the chance to herd teenagers running in front of the tronos.
Santa Cruz de Jerusalén: Holy Cross of Jerusalem.
Nuestra Señora la Vigen del Socorro Coronada: Our Lady, the Virgin of Crowned Help.
The trono, Nuestra Señora la Vigen del Socorro Coronada, takes a break during running up the last hill of the night - up the last hill, Calle Caldereros. When they take off, the Regular puts his gun horizontally in front of him and just pushes as he runs flat out. The kids get of of his way pretty quickly.
The trono has made it back to Plaza Portichuelo, and rests before being put back into Iglesia de Jesús. The Regulares are already in the shithole, Bar Socorrillo, onto their second round of Cruzcampo. They have deserved it.
A big night.
They make their way from the individual churches, but both use the same inner city loop course making watching an easy task.
I'll keep this one straight to the point, but recommend you start, if you haven't already, with the posting Semana Senta: something else again which explains the Semana Santa phenomenon. Some of the earlier postings also show the processions in more detail.
The Cofradía del Consuelo procession starts pretty much the same way: bands, hooded devotees, altar boys, incense carrying girls.
This Cofradía carries one trono Cristo an and two tronos of the Virgin. The Christ throne is Cristo de la Misericordia:
the beautiful Virgen de los Afligidos del trono de la Misericordia
It takes a bit to keep the kids' interest for the near five hours the processions take to finish.
The second trono de Virgen is the magnificent Nuestra Señora la Virgen del Consuelo.
It´s the same pattern for the second procession of Confradía de Los Delores. The same pomp and ceremony.
though I hadn´t seen anything quite like this all week. Unusual attire, and bagpipes!
The first of the two Cristo tronos is El Señor Atado a la Columna ...
and the second, was El Señor Caido.
And the simply beautiful, and as usual, weeping Virgen Nuestra Señora de los Delores Coronada.
Despite a similarity each evening, crowds still throng every night. Our interest was held, and we also went each night.