DON’T LET YOUR HANDS DROP OFF THIS EASTER

For some of us, Easter has a vague association with bunnies and a stronger association with chocolate.

But Roman gladiators – until now, not so much.

Holy Week, Spain. Easter

Easter, Spain, Holy Week Living in Spain has given me a different perspective.

This week is Holy Week in Spain and it is a moving experience.

In Spain they live their passions on the streets, whether it’s their football, their fiestas or their religion.

It’s a deep and rich culture and already I have fallen in love with it.

This week it’s Semana Santa – Holy Week. It starts on Palm Sunday – the Sunday before Easter – “Diumenge de Rams” in Catalan.

You see little boys in the street carrying “palmónes” – tall palm stalks – while the little girls Easter, Spain, Holy Weekhave “palmas,” smaller and shorter stems with intricately woven crosses.

All have small bags of sweets or toys tied to them, and are decorated with Catalan senyera ribbons.

The childrens’ godmother is responsible for getting these – back in the day they weaved them by hand, but these days the supermercato is a better bet.

The children have to wear new clothes: “Domingo de Ramos – al que no estrena se le caen las manos!!”

It means …

“Palm Sunday – if you don’t wear something new your hands will drop off!”

You see little boys in the street carrying "palmónes" - tall palm stalks - while the little girls have "palmas," smaller and shorter stems with intricately woven crosses.

photograph: Luis Fernández García

During the following week there’s the ‘processiones’ – you can get some great pictures if your hands haven’t fallen off.

If you’re an extraño like me they can seem a touch sinister at first – it looks like a KKK rally.

In fact the robes they wear date from medieval times – when sinners could demonstrate their penance while masking their identity.  

These robes were adopted by the cofradias that organize the processions to signify fraternal brotherhood and anonymity in doing good works.

You see little boys in the street carrying "palmónes" - tall palm stalks - while the little girls have "palmas," smaller and shorter stems with intricately woven crosses. Each parish brotherhood has their own style and colors.

Participants carry candles or rough-hewn wooden crosses, and some walk barefoot – a brave thing to do downtown.

Others wear elaborate dress inspired by the uniforms of the Roman legion. I also spotted Pontius Pilate and Mary Magdalene.

These pictures were taken at the Church in Rosario, Valencia.

There’s more to come. On Monday I’ll post some photographs from the Easter procession in Barcelona.

Even for a crusty pagan like me, it’s better than chocolate!

Holy Week, Easter, Spain

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COLIN FALCONER

About colinfalconer

author of bestselling historical novels like Anastasia, When We Were Gods, Aztec and Harem. My books have been published in the UK, US and ANZ and translated into seventeen languages.
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2 Responses to DON’T LET YOUR HANDS DROP OFF THIS EASTER

  1. Julia Robb says:

    you will never lack something to write about. Keep them coming. It’s so interesting to read about another culture when the observer isn’t selling, or story telling (in an exaggerated form) but really telling us how it is. You lucky dog.

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