Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is a disconnected series of pieces about the banal and ordinary of everyday life in an inland Alicante village seen from my very British perspective.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Shelter from the storm

We've been in Spain a while now and we've seen lots of Easter processions. The routine varies from town to town and procession to procession but the basic formula is the same. Individual squads dressed in pointed Klu Klux Klan hats and heavy, floor sweeping robes, escort carved, blood stained Christs and religious banners through the streets to solemn music based on slow, repetive drum beats. It can be impressive stuff but as it happens every night of Holy Week with extra processions to move this or that statue from one spot to another it soon drags as a spectator sport.

My procession count this year has been low so I went, for the first time, to see the midnight procession that marks the start of Good Friday here in Pinoso.

The town was pitch black. The street lights were off. The house shutters were down. The only light came from rogue phone boxes and bank machines. No cars were moving. People walking to the procession trod quietly with none of the normal chatter. Nobody was smoking. I took up my place in a side street and only after a moment did I realise that the procession was already moving past me. The drummer and his muffled, one beat every five seconds, was already gone. The black pointed hoods and black robes rolled silently by.

I had my camera but I was rather relieved when the autofocus, autoflash settings couldn't come to grips with the totally dark streets and black clothes. It seemed wrong to take snaps somehow. Amongst the silent watchers a young man talked too loud, on purpose, maybe to impress a girl. His friends left him high and dry. A mobile phone spurted to life but was silenced mid tone whilst a big, bloody Jesus on a cross lit with subtle blue light, swayed past on the backs of black hooded bearers.

Behind the cross came the silent crowd; hundreds of people of all ages, nearly everyone with a candle, Lots of spectators stepped off the pavement to join the procession. I began to feel uncomfortable for watching. Fifteen or maybe twenty minutes and it was all over.

As I walked back to my car I saw a bloke lighting up, a family walking in my direction were giggling and chatting. The night was crackling back to life in tiny little ways.

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