mardi 19 juin 2012

A tradition that dates from medieval times which has spread to cities/villages in Andalucia such as Belalcazar where I am right now, the "Semana Santa en Sevilla" is notable for featuring the procession of "pasos", lifelike wood or plaster sculptures of either the Virgin Mary or Jesus which are carried through the streets by penitents dressed in long purple, white or black robes, often with pointed hats, followed by women in black carrying candles for up to 11 hours. In Belalcazar, the Virgin Mary is represented by the Virgen de la Alcantarilla which is literally translated as 'Saint of the Sewer' - a strange choice! These pasos are physically carried on the necks of costaleros (literally "sack men", because of the costal, a sack-like cloth that they wear over their neck, to soften the burden) or "braceros" (this name is popular in Leon), and can weigh up to five metric tonnes. The pasos are set up and maintained by hermandades and cofradías, religious brotherhoods that are common to a specific area of the city, whose precede the paso dressed in Roman military costumes or penitential robes. Those members who wish to do so wear these penitential robes with conical hats, or capirotes, used to conceal the face of the wearer. These "Nazarenos" or "Papones" carry processional candles, may walk the city streets barefoot, and may carry shackles and chains in their feet as penance. A brass band, marching band, a drum and bugle band may accompany the group, playing funeral marches, religious hymns or "marchas" written for the occasion.

lundi 11 juin 2012

An eye agate from Uruguay. From the collection of Roger Caillois.