Thursday, 15 April 2010

Good Friday Processions in Roquetes and Cubelles

Spain is famous for its spectacular Easter celebrations, for example that of Zaragoza (although I am fully aware it is not the most famous one), something our family experienced for the first time some years ago. In this respect – like in so many others - Catalonia is different from the rest of the country. Vilanova i la Geltru, in particular, has very little to offer those interested in the Catholic traditions, and I have learned that many of our town’s inhabitants are almost proud of its atheist profile.

Since we wanted the children to get some proper Easter feeling, we took them to our two small neighbouring towns, first
Roquetes (to Sant Pere de Ribes) and then Cubelles. They both organize Via Crucis, processions depicting Jesus on his way to crucifixion - but they were more different than we had expected.

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Roquetes was urbanised only recently and has a strong Andalusian element in the population so, not surprisingly, the Good Friday procession there is carried out in Spanish. There is not much mystique around it, since it takes place in broad daylight, but many participants actively remind themselves of how Christ suffered, for example by walking barefoot.

Thanks to its historic town center, Cubelles can offer a much more beautiful setting. One Andalusian singer stood out as the odd Spanish element in a ceremony otherwise performed in Catalan. For an outsider, the Via Crucis of Cubelles is undoubtedly the one which is most interesting to watch, and it takes place after dark, a fact which adds to the atmosphere. Very many people join the procession with lighted candles in their hands, but it can also be enjoyed a spectacle since, during regular stops (estacions), a speaker reads Bible sections about how Jesus was tortured and murdered.

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Now we have seen what our comarca Garraf has to offer and in the future, I will want to go further away from home on Good Friday. Next year it can be suitable to go to Tarragona, which (as I have learnt from a fellow Swedish blogger) holds a Good Friday procession inspired by the city's Roman history. It should, in fact, be possible to combine with a visit in Verges (Baix Empordà, Girona) to see the unique dance of death, a Maundy Thursday tradition originating in the penitence for the Black Death. Only the year after that will the children be old enough to put up with their first truly Spanish giant ceremony, so an Easter in Seville will have to wait.

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Here is my
post from last year's procession in Cubelles, when I could move around more rapidly since my wife stayed home with the children.

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Technorati tags: Catalonia, Penedès, Via Crucis, Vilanova,

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