Friday, March 25, 2016

Procession of the Pasos: Twenty Photographs to Help You Understand Holy Week in León on This Good Friday

This is the fourth in a series of posts on Holy Week in León, Spain.  I'll have more information and photographs in subsequent posts.

Most Americans (and other nationalities) know little of the massive preparations and elaborate expressions of faith that define Holy Week (Semana Santa) in Spain.  Those who are aware probably know about the grand processions of Seville, Granada, or Malaga.  Just as important, but lesser known, are the processions in the northern city of León where I'm spending Holy Week.  The biggest procession in León is a daytime event on Good Friday, with twelve massive pasos (floats).   It's called The Procession of Pasos.
The procession was scheduled to leave the church of Santa Nonia at 7:15 in the morning.  A light and steady rain seemed ready to end it before it started.  The pasos (floats) cannot be exposed to even moderate moisture because of the damage it causes to the wood.  Some of the pasos carried during Holy Week are national treasures that date to the 1500s.

After a delay of an hour, the first pasos left Santa Nonia.  The Procession of the Pasos has been in León since 1611.  This is the Oration of Christ in the Garden and dates to 1952.

The Capture is another modern paso.  It was created in 1964.

Some of those carrying the paso show their devotion to penance by walking the many miles and hours of the procession barefoot.

Women have participated in most of the processions for decades.

The Flagellation.  The pasos passed in front of León's Gothic cathedral in addition to many other historic places. While starting in the early morning, the procession did not end until late afternoon.  This paso dates to the 16th century.
The Coronation.  Pasos in the processions have traditionally been used to visually represent the story of Christ's passion.

Ecce Homo dates to the early part of the 20th century.

The reverse of Ecce Homo.

Our Father Jesus of Nazareth dates to 1610.  My wife's family has participated in helping to bear this paso for generations.

A closer view of  Our Father Jesus of Nazareth.

Veronica dates to the 1920s.
The Exploiting has been in processions since 1675.
Detail from The Exploiting.  Dice lie atop Christ's robes. 

The Exaltation of the Cross is the newest of the pasos in the procession, from 2000.

The Crucifixion passed through the Plaza of San Isidoro, as did all the pasos.

A close-up of  The Crucifixion.

The Agony of Christ
Saint John is from 1946.
The Dolorosa shows the pain of the Virgin.  It is from 1949.
I hope my photographs and commentary help to give you a feel for Holy Week here in León.  If you would like to follow from the first post, click here.

Tomorrow, I'll be posting photographs and information about another of the great processions of
León:  The Seven Words of Jesus on the Cross.

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