Monthly Archives: April 2020
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.
For Spaniards a particularly important week in the year is Semana Santa – Holy Week. In a tradition dating back to medieval times, floats (‘pasos’) comprising sculptured representations of biblical scenes are carried shoulder high through the streets of most cities and towns. The floats are accompanied by penitents (or ‘nazarenos’) wearing inverted cone-shaped headgear (‘capriote’) with a hood into which eye holes are cut enabling the wearer to see but not be identified. The procession moves at a very steady pace in time with the rhythmic beat of a muffled drum. Every few minutes there is a pause to allow the bearers of the float (the ‘costaleros’) to relax their shoulders The processions are organised by religious fraternities (‘cofradias’) and brotherhoods. The robes worn by the penitents differ in colour according to their particular brotherhood. Some carry candles, rods or banners according to their level of seniority. The most senior is the president who carries a golden rod.
This photo was taken in Dalt Vila, the old quarter of Ibiza Town, during siesta time at the beginning of Holy Week. It is a scene that is typically Ibecan – the tall white buildings containing flats and apartments; the balconies complete with washing (and often a canary or linnet in a cage); electricity cables attached to the outside of buildings in a seemingly precarious manner showing little awareness of health and safety regulations; the steep, narrow passageways and streets etc. But look, too, at the people. The senora holds pride of place in the foreground, resting her weary feet it would seem. At the far end a group of young senoritas are engaged in ….. whatever it is young senoritas talk about! One of the fellows seems to be deep in thought. The nearest one is painting his cross, presumably in readiness for the procession that evening or the following evenings.
The ‘meaning’ of an art work can be significantly changed by the context in which it is presented. Location, scale, space, colour, light, background, texture etc., all impact on our interpretation of the subject itself. There is a sense in which they become an integral part of the art work. Any change to the negative space surrounding the subject affects its interpretation. (Many of the critics of Carl Ande’s Equivalent VIII, saw only a neat stack of bricks: they failed to see the interrelationship between the sculpture and its context, its environment.)
This photo, taken a few weeks ago, was accidentally omitted from the ‘snowdrop post’ at that time, but somehow it seems to have particular relevance in the present climate. Even after the darkest days and most severe winter weather the seemingly fragile (but deceptively resilient) snowdrop returns to put a smile on our faces and bring promise of better things to come. What a wonderful example it provides!