March 20, 2008

Semana Santa

Last spring I was fortunate enough to be in Malaga, Spain, during Semana Santa, or Holy Week. It was a peak experience in my life, and when I win the lottery, (assuming I start playing), I am going back. Part of the celebration includes elaborate religious floats, carried in procession by fraternal groups for upwards of six hours through the winding streets of the old sections of the city. There are military bands, and children with huge candles, and gypsies. Not only is the pageantry outstanding, the vibe in the crowd in wonderful, as spectators mingle with participants, and what looks to the untrained eye like chaos gets sorted out all in due time. There's no barriers, and crowd control consists of groups of policemen standing about in small groups smoking lots of cigarettes. There's food, and wine, and lots of excitement and camaraderie. The visuals are stunning, and of course the pictures don't begin to capture the experience, but I'm sharing a few nonetheless.

Some of the floats date back as far as the post WWII period, are meticulously maintained, and much of the gilt is real gold and silver. With the flowers and the candles, and the swaying motion as they are carried on the men's shoulders, they are mesmerizing

My charming and gracious hosts were quick to explain that the pointed headdresses ware part of a very old tradition, have religious significance, and have absolutely nothing to do with superficially similar hats worn by American KKK members. The gold embroidery on Mary's vestments is incredible.


Anonymous said...

Dear Sue, I came to your blog from the Quiltart list. I also work in wardrobe for the San Diego Opera, where we are presenting "Cavelleria Rusticana" which takes places in Sicily during Holy Week. Long story short, during the religious procession on stage the actors wear long white robes w/hoods, causing some confusion in the audience about the "Klansmen" onstage. What an interesting coincidence to see the Spanish version of these costumes on your page!
Loved your work,
Linda Laird

Sue Reno said...

Hi Linda, thanks so much for sharing this--I love this sort of synchronicity!