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Posts Tagged ‘Easter

Happy Easter!! Here is an article I wrote on Easter in Spain from my archives. Sally has kindly featured it on her site. If you haven’t read it before, you might enjoy the celebrations of Semana Santa. Wishing everyone a wonderful day!

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Darlene Foster shares a post from her archives that brought back memories for me of our seventeen years in Spain. Easter is a big festival and is an occasion for all the family to take to the streets.

Semana Santa: Easter in Spain by Darlene Foster

The week before and including Easter is called Semana Santa here in Spain and is the largest religious festival of the year. Elaborate processions take place throughout the week in most cities and towns. During Holy week religious sculptures are taken out of the churches and paraded through the town to the main cathedral. Some of these precious sculptures,created by well known Spanish artists, are hundreds of years old. They are mounted on floats called pasos, surrounded with flowers and candles. Portapasos (or float-carriers) wearing traditional costumes, carry the heavy floats through the streets lined with spectators. No large trucks transport these floats, only…

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The week before and including Easter is called Semana Santa here in Spain and is the largest religious festival of the year. Elaborate processions take place throughout the week in most cities and towns. During Holy week religious sculptures are taken out of the churches and paraded through the town to the main cathedral. Some of these precious sculptures,created by well known Spanish artists, are hundreds of years old. They are mounted on floats called pasos, surrounded with flowers and candles. Portapasos (or float-carriers) wearing traditional costumes, carry the heavy floats through the streets lined with spectators. No large trucks transport these floats, only dedicated men and women. I was eager to see one of these parades so we took a bus to nearby Murcia city to witness the Good Friday procession.

float

Paso carried through the streets of Murcia

Jesus Nazareno, 1797

Jesus Nazareno, 1797

San Juan Evangelista, 1952

San Juan Evangelista, 1952

float 2

Descendimiento, 2001

Ahead of the floats, carrying lamps, candles or incense, are the Nazarenos, often called penitents. These are members of various religious brotherhoods known as cofradias, wearing robes, capes and capirotes, a type of conical hat that usually covers the face. These robes were once worn by individuals doing penance. As a sign of atoning their sins, they would walk barefoot through the town, their faces covered so as not to reveal the sinners. Although the hooded cloaks look similar to the Ku Klux Klan, they have nothing to do with them. Many of these brotherhoods date back to the Middle Ages and are recognized by the colours they wear. They are responsible for the parade, pasos and music and spend countless hours in preparation, ensuring everything runs smoothly. There were about a dozen floats in this parade, each represented by a different brotherhood.

Penitent with bare feet

Penitent with bare feet

green robes

Each brotherhood wears its own colour

red robes

Included in the procession are women wearing the traditional mantilla, a black lace veil worn high on the back of the head. Mantillas are meant to show morning and pain. Marching bands and drummers follow the floats providing stirring music. The entire scene is alive with colour and sound, and the air is filled with the sweet scent of incense and melted wax. As always in Spain, this is a family affair with all ages taking part in the spectacle.

Women wearing Mantillas

Solemn women wearing Mantillas

all ages

All ages take part in the procession

bishops

Incredible embroideries of gold and silk on standards, cloaks and coats

Drummers are heard throughout the cities and towns

Drummers are heard throughout the cities and towns

Candies and pastries play an important role in the Easter festivities. The Nazarenos and other members of the procession carry candy around their waists and hand them out to children who wait patiently with outstretched hands. Occasionally they give a treat to an adult too. A small robed participant caught my eyes, ran over to me, and placed some sweets in my hand, with a huge grin. So sweet.

Handing out candy to the children

Handing out candy to the children

This person is not fat, he is carrying candy around his waist.

This person is not fat, he is carrying candy around his waist.

Easter candy in the bakery

Easter candy in the bakery.

I love the stockings of the float bearers

I love the stockings of the float bearers

It is difficult not to be moved no matter what your beliefs. A merging of art, culture and religion in a vital and poignant atmosphere, I found it to be emotional and exciting at the same time. I’m thankful I was able to witness the dedication and pageantry of this special event.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter, however you spent it.

The photographs are taken by me. Not easy to take pictures of a parade in the dark. If you click on them you will get a larger and better view.

I’ve been away from blogging for a bit as I took a quick trip back to Canada to visit friends and family in two provinces. I managed to see as many people as I could in a short time. There were many lunches, dinners and coffees/teas with good friends, including a fabulous Easter lunch at my former place of employment. I spent Easter weekend with family in Alberta and was treated to snow Easter morning, which I wasn’t prepared for. But watching my great granddaughter hunt for Easter eggs made up for the bad weather.

Here are a few pictures of my visit.

Spending time with Mom was precious

Spending time with Mom was precious

Easter bunny time

Easter bunny time with a cutie

Mom with a great great granddaughter

Mom with a great great granddaughter

Lunch with my son and rapidly growing up grandson

Lunch with my son and rapidly growing up grandson

Any day spent with my daughter is a special day

Any day spent with my daughter is a special day

 

The west coast was so beautiful with all the spring flowers and blossoms

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Quite a contrast to my three days in Alberta.

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Never mind, it was a good trip and I was so happy I went. I enjoy my new life but miss the special people from Canada.

I’m now over my jet lag and happy to be back in Spain with my hubby as we start moving into our own home. More about that later.

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March came in like a lion this year; cold, rainy, windy and just plain ugly. While everyone around me complained, I reminded them that this was good, as it was a sure thing we would be blessed with nice weather at the end of March. Sure enough, we have had an amazing week of lovely warm sunny weather here on the west coast of Canada. This Easter weekend I have been for a walk on the beach three days in a row. So glad the theory works, every time.

Orchid and easter basket, gifts at work

Orchid and easter basket, gifts at work

Having four days off is wonderful, but to have four sunny days off on the “wet coast” is almost unheard of. It has been lovely. Everyone left work on Thursday in a happy mood.  A satisfied client brought us orchids and a colleague provided Easter treats.

Besides going for walks on the beach, I have been meeting friends for tea and having coffee with hubby at various special places around town. Also enjoying the multitude of  blooming daffodils and cherry trees in our neighborhood.

Tea with friends

Tea with friends

Macaroon latte with hubby, yummy!

Macaroon latte with hubby, yummy!

I have always loved the Easter season and the spirit of hope it evokes.  Spring flowers are my favourite.

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Tulips given to me by the students at Holly Elementary School.

Tulips given to me by the students at Holly Elementary School.

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend, however you celebrated it.

May your days be filled with much sunshine, flowers and hope.


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