Holy Week Processions in Madrid…should you want to see one

Semana Santa, or Holy Week, officially started on Sunday, and you can run into a procession or two around the area, but things don’t really kick off until today, Holy Wednesday.  Aside from collapsing the highways, the streets of numerous cities in Spain will also fill with crowds and solemn religious processions organized and performed by local societies.  The mainly male members of these groups parade around the town, often dressed in long gowns and pointed hats that eerily remind the untrained eye of a KKK meeting.  These traditional garbs go back centuries.  The societies (often called cofradías or hermandades) carry around what are essentially floats that depict different moments of the Passion of Christ, especially the sad part of it.  You see, the Spanish have a funny way of emphasizing the tragic side to this story, often ignoring all together the “happy ending” when Jesus comes back and triumphs over death.  Much of the rest of Europe highlight the final victory, while the Spanish focus on the fact Jesus was betrayed, unfairly tried and nailed to a cross.  The processions are proof of that, as ten of twelve of them take place between now and Good Friday, and the remaining two are on Saturday.   There is not one scheduled procession, parade, party, egg hunt or lamb dinner scheduled for Sunday, as far as I can tell.  That’s the day people have to drive back, which can be a calamity in itself. 

            Thank God I’ve got my bread for the torrijas.  The one I had in the section of stale and old things was so stale and old I can use it as a rolling pin.  I found a store that sells bread prepared specially for torrijas!  I’m half way there!

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