Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Good Friday Procession in Tarragona

Quite a few parts of Spain are famous for their Easter celebrations. Catalonia is not. Having said that, although I understand that the Good Friday Procession of Tarragona might not compare with what you find in, for example, Seville, it certainly gives you a rich experience of this tradition, especially for those of us who were not born in a Catholic country.

This procession and was originally carried out on Easter Thursday can be traced back to 1550. Since 1860, it takes place on Good Friday, starting around 20:00 from plaça del Rei and repeating more or less that same route through the Tarragona Old Town. Nowadays it usually lasts for five hours and has some 3.000 participants, who in turn belong to around 20 different Christian associations, guilds or brother- and sisterhoods. These all have their own separate programs for the rest of the Easter week – full of masses, Via Crucis and meetings - and Good Friday evening is the only time when they come together for a joint activity. Each entity illustrates one of the steps (passos) of the passion of Christ. These representations are being carried by penitents in absolute silence, but in many cases to the solemn sound of drums.

The long history and the high level of participation make the Easter celebrations of Tarragona unique in Catalonia which is why they have been declared Festa Patrimonial d’Interes Nacional by Generalitat de Catalunya.

- - - 
Read more in Catalan: Festes.org