Semana Santa in the 'corona era'
This is one of the most important weeks in Spain. Santa Semana. Whether or not you are religious / spiritual, the Holy Week in Spain does something to you. Under normal circumstances, the towns and cities of Andalucía these days experience their main processions, which have been worked together in unison all year round. The Semana Santa of 2020 is a week of silence this time, everyone remains inside. There is a strange atmosphere, due to the lockdown. Only at eight o'clock in the evening the silence is broken by sirens, applause, and music. This is also concord, but then in 2020. Today is Good Friday. The day when I used to listen to the St Matthew Passion in peace with my mother. Later, after having children, finding 4 whole free hours on Good Friday was a challenge. This time for the first time there really is plenty of time.
I especially miss the preparations for Easter: Listening to beautiful music, shopping for the Easter days, cooking and baking together.
The impressive processions that characterize the Holy Week, Semana Santa, in Spain are also skipped. It is almost apocalyptically quiet in our village.
I was looking forward to two special processions in Granada; on Wednesday evening the procession of the Gitanos "El Cristo de los Gitanos" in Sacromonte. And on Maundy Thursday "El Silencio de Granada".
The Gitanos procession is without exception spectacular and emotional, full of music and passion. On Wednesday evening Granada turns purple, red and gold. The procession normally departs around 5 pm with two pasos (bars) in the middle; the first with El Cristo de los Gitanos and the second with María Santísima del Sacromonte. This procession is punctuated with tradition, lasts for hours and only arrives at dawn at Abadia del Sacromonte, from where you have a beautiful view of the city. Especially the road along the Carrera del Darro and then up the hill via the Cuesta del Chapiz and the narrow Camino del Sacromonte to the abbey is impressive. The tour is tough and an ordeal and is supported along the way by bonfires and saetas, the traditional à capella hymns in Flamenco style.
The other procession, "El Silencio", departs from Iglesia Parroquia de San Pedro on Carrera del Darro on Maundy Thursday at midnight. After the exuberant passion of the Gitanos, this procession is almost completely opposite. And therefore at least so special. When the bar is approaching, the lamps and streetlamps are dimmed. The image of the crucified Christ passes through the city, illuminated by candles and in complete silence. All you hear is the sound of the drums and the staccato footsteps of the porters. About five to six hours later, the procession reaches its end point. It is slowly getting light in the city; the atmosphere is serene and mysterious. The Alhambra watches from the hill.
Due to the total lockdown no Semana Santa , and accordingly no visits from friends and family. We agree with friends that we will do it again next year.
Although we still enjoy everything that is still there, I notice that the last few days the question arises whether we should go to the Netherlands. Especially now that there are rumours that Spain will again have a two-week extension. The silence is enough. So does the paralysis of public and social life. I want to walk again, go to the beach and work on the project. Meeting people and not feeling trapped. Doubt grows; stay or leave? Although returning to the Netherlands also requires lots of effort. Rumours about planes going or not are always contradictory. As well as rumours about options to travel north by car. I hear from friends about barren trips with various stamped forms, without being able to book a hotel in France.
We will see how things evolve in the near future.