Monday, 17 April 2017

Semana Santa in Castile y Leon

The procession de la Soledad celebrated during Holy Thursday in Leon.
The best place to spend Easter is in the Castilian region of Northern Spain to witness the most dramatic religious rites and processions. The origin of the liturgical rituals date back to the 13th century.

Call it serendipity! I was in  the right place, at the right time.  I was in Burgos six days ago to meet up with my friends who already started their Camino de Santiago pilgrimage using the camino Frances route.  Stephen started all the way up in the Pyrenees at Saint Jean Pied on March 28 and the rest - Gai, Alan and Raffy - started in Pamplona on April 2. I came from Bozi Dar in the Czech Republic where I did a Kundalini Yoga module 2 course facilitated by Harijiwan and Gurujas and thus, got to Burgos only on April 9,  Palm Sunday.

The devotees donned in capirote.
Palm Sunday is the official start of the Semana Santa in Spain. It was my first introduction to capirote. This is, the devotees, the brotherhoods who organizes the processions, are dressed in tall conical hats covering their faces and in belted robes. Each color represents a brotherhood or a masonry guild.

The medieval garb is reserved for those doing penance as a sign of atoning for their sins. They would walk through the narrow cobblestone streets wearing their hats, their faces covered so they wouldn't be discovered as sinners and carrying the carrozas (floats adorned with flowers and large religious figures). Some are walking barefoot. They do resemble the Ku Klux Klan attire though.

The women would wear their traditional mantilla, a black lace veil worn high on the back of their head with a mini-comb clip.

Spanish women wearing their traditional mantilla
Each town along the Camino, from Burgos to Carrion de los Condes to Leon, would have their own .

We were lucky to arrive in Leon and witness three processions in one day. These are  the procession de Santo del Desenclavo, the procession de la Soledad and the procession Camino de la Luz. The last one ended until midnight.

The next day, Easter Sunday, the procession started in the morning.  At this time, the devotees were no longer wearing their hats. The procession ended in the town square, in front of the Cathedral.

If you want to witness the medieval processions during semana santa, I heard that Seville and Zaragosa are also good.

Here are some video clips and photos of the proceedings:

Palm Sunday procession after the mass in Burgos

Holy Thursday procession in Carrion de los Condes


The processions in Leon on Easter Saturday and Sunday

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