Holy Week for many people is different and is celebrated in a diverse from depending on where one lives. A usually celebrated by going to church, watching the same movies that air every year, and especially celebrating with family. In the USA is always a bummer because Spring Break is before the Holy Week so I have to go to school and participate on the most important days which are Friday and Sunday.
NOW everything is different! I am in Granada and here the Holy Week is celebrated to the maximum. There are about four to five processions every day from Sunday to Sunday. I kept hearing what the processions have and how each thing is called or what might happen in one; but not until I saw my first procession on Monday would I really understand what it was all about until I experience it. One of the things that I thought was interesting was that 98% of hotels and so forth where book for this week or that by the middle of the week one can do any shopping or even leave their homes. This is unbelievable to see, the people crowding the streets, crying, or even singing because of the feelings that the processions create.
I feel specially blest to have chosen Granada as the place to study because of the different experiences that it has offered me, such as getting to know a fun tradition. This is so because not in every part of Spain is the same, in the region of Andaluz where Granada is located the Holy Week is celebrated with more fun and upbeat which on other parts of Spain is celebrated with a more solemnly style. Is interesting to see this processions in YouTube but one needs some background knowledge of them so not to become confuse or surprise of what one may see. I say this because on the style of dressing that are used for this processions, especially for people like me that come from the United States.
Let me start with the “Tronos” they are historic sculptures that one sees every day in church that adores with rich clothing. They are placed in an extravagantly adorn platform and depending if the Christ or the Virgin they are adorned differently. For the trono or throne with Jesus on it, it is open and decorated strong color flowers like red, purple, etc. On the other hand, the Virgin’s trono are extremely decorated and always cover with the largest ropes adorn with gold. Describing how they look is a hard task to take on, not
even a picture can show all that one sees. These platforms are carried differently depending where they are, in Granada the people who carry them are call “costalelos.” The costalelos are under the platform which can weight more than a ton and they carry it on their backs/necks. Each procession is also accompanied by one or two bands, the one that is behaving the Christ are the horns and drums, the second one that follows the Virgin are the ones with the brass or the wind instruments which make the music more upbeat. Each procession has a style of “pasos” which creates the illusion of the statutes walking or dancing. The other parts of the procession are the people, one group of people are the “Mantillas.”
The Mantillas are all female, they are dressed in the Spanish morning style which entails all dress in black with a bail on top of the head-dress (mantilla). The other groups have a different color of tonics to show which group they belong to and also to represent
the stages of the Holy Week. Also their faces are cover they carry either
candles, crosses, or chains and they can even go barefooted. They do this because of a promise made to God. This group of people is what Americans like me would be the most surprised because the “Penitentes or Nazarenos” style of clothes resembles the KKK. Even though the dress is the same the meaning on the style is completely different.
The first time I saw a procession was on Monday. I was lucky to have the first one scheduled close to where I lived. Because it was my first one I literally follow it from my home to the roman bridge where I was able to
see it from the start. Then I when more to the center stopping at the Church of Our Lady of Sorrows (patron virgin of Granada) where the tronos offer their respects. Then I walk all the way to Correo’s and stay to watch almost all the processions passed true until 10 pm. I was lucky enough that I was able to find a place where I could see everything with not much obstruction for a 5ft girl. Then after ten, I when to meet my host mom to go and see the enclosing of Jesus del Rescate. Before I could even cross the street I had to wait 30 minutes until all the processions left. When I met with them we walk to the church. The location was in a small plaza with so many people that we could not even move. This was the best part and the most emotional. It was hard to see everything but once the trono arrived everything change. Everyone was focused on the Christ and out of nowhere a woman started to sing. I heard in class that people sometimes sang a Saeta (a flamenco cante) when feelings needed to be express. I never thought I would had the opportunity of seeing this. It seems like I was wrong because I saw and heard four people singing, one after the other. Then the Christ enter the church and we waited to be allowed in and to end my day or, in this case, start it I was able to take one of the flowers adorning the trono.