Semana Santa 2009

Let´s be honest. Spain is a nation of lapsed Catholics. The statistics claim that well over 90% of the country´s citizens are of the Catholic religion, but you could probably make the argument that within this demographic, no more than 10% are actually practicing, believing, honest to God Catholics. Come to Spain during Semana Santa, though, and after several hours you will be convinced that what I just wrote is an outright lie. Everybody seems to all of sudden remember that they are supposed to be Catholic during the week leading up to Easter, and come out in droves to silently take in the somber yet pulsating processions that parade around 17th- and 18th-century statues of Jesus and Mary atop  elaborate floats of candles and flowers, carried for hours on end by barefooted pentients.

While Sevilla has by far the most famous Semana Santa celebration, other cities such as Málaga and Valladolid also host renowned processions. Arcos de la Frontera´s Holy Week may be small time compared to that of these provincial capitals, but it is considered so beautiful that Spain has recognized the event as of ¨national tourist interest.¨

Last year, I remained in Arcos to witness its famous Semana Santa, and my friends Nate and Phoebe came down to check it out as well. The Easter Sunday ¨Hallelujah Running of the Bulls,¨ Arcos´ answer to going to mass, easily eclipsed the melancholy parades, and is to date one of the most awesome things I have ever experienced. And while I´ll be back in town for the Halleluja Bulls this coming week, alas I have no friends visiting, so Esme and I are taking off to the north. We´ll stop a couple days in Salamanca on the way to Asturias, where Esme has some family. Oviedo, Gijón, and Columbres will be the Asturian destinations, where we will drink their typical hard cider and eat their cabrales cheese, before heading back down to Andalucía for the Easter bull run, maybe the biggest single party in Arcos all year.

Many photos to come, and for lapsed Catholics, practicing Catholics, or people just going on a good old vacation, have fun.

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~ by lincolnbrody on April 3, 2009.

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