Semana Santa II The Floats (‘pasos’)

The major cities of Andalucia, such as Seville and Malaga, have processions each day from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday.  Smaller towns have just two, on Maunday Thursday and Good Friday.  Processions often take place during both the day and the evening.  The onset of darkness in the evenings contributes significantly to the eeriness of the atmosphere.

Obviously the number and size of the floats varies considerably from place to place, but there will always be pasos representing the weeping Virgin Mother and Christ (not always on the Cross).  Because a procession brings together several fraternities there are sometimes different interpretations of the same theme  –  as with the Virgin Mary pasos below.

The occasion is invariably solemn and the tension is heightened by the persistent, almost sinister, beat of the drum, the intermittent piercing sound of bugles, and perhaps the performance of a saeta (a solo religious song, an emotional cry resembling flamenco music).

The photos for today and yesterday were taken in Ibiza Town.  Semana Santa falls outside the tourist season.  In Ibiza it is celebrated in a modest and intimate manner.

This first paso pictured below is an important one in the procession.  Notice the shafts by which it is being carried on the shoulders of the penitents.  Although it looks fairly large, it is small compared with the pasos of Malaga and Seville which can weigh several tons and require scores of bearers (‘costaleros’).  Note, too, the use of aromatic flowers and candles to decorate the paso.  The character on the right, facing the paso, determines when it is necessary to rest.

This is a paso of the Virgin Mother belonging to a different fraternity.

Notice that the cross-bearer is walking barefoot as an act of penance.  This takes considerable courage on the cobbles and rough road surfaces of Ibiza Town.



Filed under Colour, Flowers, Thoughts, Uncategorized

4 responses to “Semana Santa II The Floats (‘pasos’)

  1. I’m familiar with the procession however, the robe/hat warrants a disturbing
    first glance due to the likeness of KKK costuming. Lends a creepy air for me, to the solemn procession. Great photos-they certainly got my attention.

    • I think ‘creepy air’ describes the atmosphere well – evoked by the threatening drum beat, the stealthy, quiet glide of the penitents and pasos which, in some cases, border on the macabre. And, however hard one tries, it is difficult to totally detach the appearance of the penitents in their capriotes from that of the KKK.

  2. Nice to see these processions Ibiza-style; just back from some processions in Zaragoza, always very bizarre and impressive with those big drums and huge man-carried ‘pasos’!

    • I’m intrigued by the way we’re all searching for words to describe our experiences – ‘creepy’, ‘bizarre’, ‘impressive’ – and they’re all appropriate. I’ve witnessed the processions in Seville and Malaga as well as Ibiza and several other places and I think that they’ve all contained these three elements, though in varying degrees. The other thing they share is a strange masochistic fascination!

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