Images, emotions, incense
Pictures provoke emotions. Pictures are catchy. Pictures are powerful messages.
The media’s flood of images increases over the years and nearly turns into the Flood. Those among you, who like live images or taking a selfie in front of an imposing scenery, must not miss the Semana Santa (Eastern) in Spain.
The rulers of the Catholic Church have been operating with picture language since the 16th century and invented “preaching through pictures“ by introducing the Easter processions. Those who could not read or write were converted by moving images and touching sceneries. Although most of today’s visitors are able to read, rousing pictures accompanied by drum roll and choral singings, surrounded by a tiny breath of incense, still move the crowds the most. Every year, hounders of processions to do penance attract their visitors to come and so they do in Catalonia. Even famous dignitaries hide under their tapered hoods. Being a member of brotherhoods (Confraries) is an honor and can only be passed on to somebody.
The motto is not only “repentance“ but also love and hope, humanity and compassion are topics which the processions dedicate themselves to. After having marched for miles, people then dance, laugh, and celebrate within the streets. Mysticism and religion go along with cheerful exuberance. Restaurants and bars are opened in many villages until late into the night. Even the Easter procession in Girona no more appears like a gloomy story from the Middle Ages but like a big baroque fair.
The beautiful Madonna carved out of wood and decorated with a magnificent floral decoration appears at night and is the superstar. Being the Christian Virgin, the Goddess, and the heavenly beauty queen, she is the centre of the frenzy of flashing cameras. The „Paso de Christo“ glides through the fascinated crowd, carried unsteadily by strong men.
The mysticism of the scenery – Girona’s beautiful old town being the perfect backdrop – is an experience for your senses which you definitely should not miss.
On Maundy Thursday, all bars in Verges are opened throughout the night. The spot vibrates. The dance of death called “Dansa de la mort“ takes place in this medieval spot, located between Figueres and La Bisbal. (www.laprocesso.com) The spectacle dates back to 1666 and catches the visitor’s fascination every year. First, scenes of the Passion of Christ are reconstructed on the market square at 10 pm. At midnight, the crowd forms up into a procession through the small alleys of Verges, led by people dressed like skeletons. Dropping candle wax marks the path. This bizarre spectacle, accompanied by the rhythm of drums, is considered to be one of the most eldest manifestations of church art. Muffled drumbeats, the rattling of chains, strokes of a whip and many visitors characterize the scenery. The backdrop, being the medieval façades of the spot, emphasizes the drama. But even here, people are going to celebrate later on. In the garden of Mas Pi, located in the old town, they will have a drink together.
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