Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Spanish Trip Part 3 - Semana Santa

Disclaimer : The People in the pictures are in NO WAY related to the KKK !!.

Ah! back, after a mini break from blogging. There were way too many interesting incidents to write and I got stuck where to start with !!. With the weather too getting better here in beautiful Sweden, I tend to spend too much time outdoors rather than infront of my comp.

Continuing with my narration about my trip to Espanyol, this post is about the 'Semana Santa' or the 'Holy Week' celebration during Easter time in Sevile, Spain.

I had heard from my collegaues a little bit about the hooded priests and silent processions that take place during the Easter Weekend in Seville. So, there I was, infront of the main cathedral, which by the way was one massive piece of architectuire!!. The roads were blocked and seats were arranged on the sides for people to sit and watch the procession. I was told that the procession would start in the evening. So I decided to walk around and see some more places and then come back.

By the time I came back, the whole place was swamped, with people occupying every nook and corner!. With my view blocked, all I could do was stand and hear a haunting music which was a mix of drums and trumpets!!. I kept jumping to get a glimpse of what was going on. First time I jump, all I could grasp was a huge procession of people walking towards the church. Hmmmmm, that's quite a big procession!!. Next attempt, I jump and now catch a glimpse of some poeple wearing funky, conical hoods on their head!. Ahaa.... so, these are the hooded priests a.k.a the notorious KKK look alikes !! ;o). With my curiousity aroused, I barge my way through the crowd uttering 'Excuse me' in english, Swedish and Spanish!. All the experiences of struggling through theater queues in India helped me to get by and reach a vantage spot !.

Then asusual, the tourist inside gets the better of me. I started to manically click pics instead of just standing there and enjoying the whole experience!. Hmmmmm, I guess I am still learning on that part. There were thousands of people dressed in White, Black and Blue hoods covered with long drapes and carrying some kind of a spear like thing on their hand. Behind them was a 'Marching band' playing some music and further behind, was a Flower adorned chariot carrying a statue of 'Mother Mary'. All these, reminded me of the 'Chitrai Festival' in my home town of Madurai, India.

The procession continued late in to the night, and there were Black Hooded priests carrying candles in their hands. I should say, it was quite a spooky sight. I could see little children walk up to these hooded people and ask for some candies. They were not disappointed at all....these priests must've had a bag full of choclates inside their loooong drapes!!.

Finally, I got hold of someone who could speak some broken english and asked the history behind this whole 'Semana Santa' week and the reason behind this hooded procession. Couldn't make out most of what he said, but from what I could understand, it seems, each church in the Seville region has it's own procession to the main cathedral where they'd carry a chariot with 'Mother Mary' along with a group of hooded priests and a marching band!. The people wear hoods so that their identity would be revealed only to god and no one else!!. Hmmmmm.....interesting enough.

On the whole, it was a very different experience standing among thousands of people speaking a language unknown to me and celebrating their most famous festival when I had no clue what it was ! ;o). There is a sense of joy and satisfaction when one trys to enjoy something totally being ignorant of it !. We don't let our preconceived notions and knwoledge affect the moment and rather enjoy the moment with unhindered amazement and exploration!. Okie....I stop now.... I feel like Aristotle or somethin now ! :o).


Blogger Mr. J said...

1. What is KKK?
2. Is there a cult?
3. How can I join?

12:10 PM  
Blogger Shilpa said...

The pics are a little creepy.........
esp if u see the priests in !!

3:22 PM  
Blogger Archana said...

O boy, the priests do look scary! If I was a kid watching that parade, I wouldnt have gone anywhere near those priests! I would have hidden behind mommy or daddy :-O!

Me, KKK = Ku Klux Klan. Visit wikipedia for more info :-P!

8:48 PM  
Blogger Mr. J said...

archana... uumm any idea how I can join them?

1:52 AM  
Blogger Rahul Obla said...

Me - Dude you don't wanna do that !;). Wud be in lotaa trouble.

Shilpa - Yupp ... Real spooky !

Archana - :)...I guess u might hv done the same even now ! :P

7:28 AM  
Blogger Saranya Kishore said...

Nice Rahul.
Interesting how differently each country celebrates Easter and Holy week. :))

8:02 AM  
Blogger Rahul Obla said...

Saranya - Yupp, the whole life style takes a 180 degree turn in Spain !. It was quite fascinating.

12:02 AM  
Blogger Mr. J said...

Hmmmm I get the hang of it now. Damn the costumes look so nice. I'd love to go to work wearing one of those. ;)

12:55 PM  
Anonymous Jean said...

Hello I found your blog via its reference on Wikipedia while reading up on capirotes. We are just back from Spain and Semana Santa. Just to set the record straight, the people in the habits and capirote (pointed hood) are not priests but associations of Roman Catholic laypersons who walk as a sign of pentinence. The priests, if they are marching, are in their regular priestly garments close to the pasos of Mary and Jesus, and are often carrying incense. It is amazing to watch, though, isn't it? I know what you mean about snapping photos! We did the same! We watched for many hours!

2:47 AM  

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