Thursday, April 1, 2010

Jueves Santo

Every year in February, the late night "marcha" of Southern Spain takes on a different tune.  Dozens of young men take to the streets to practice carrying large wooden tables throughout the streets.  These tables, or pasos, will carry ornately decorated religious icons through the streets during the Holy Week of Easter.  When fully adorned, the pasos can weigh over 2,000 kilograms, and are carried on the backs of 20 to 30 costaleros.  Due to a skirt that surrounds the base of the paso, the costaleros are unable to see where they are going.  Thus, they take to the streets several months before Semana Santa to practice the basic maneuvers of lifting the table, moving forward, turning, stopping and setting the down the paso all in response to instructions given through the beating of a stick.  Practice is often accompanied by a small section of  church marching bands or a single trumpet.  During the late months of winter, it is not uncommon to hear the lone call of a trumpet announcing the imminent arrival of the Easter Celebrations.
Little did I know that February of 2008 would be the last time I would have the privilege of  the seasonal experience of stumbling across the costaleros practicing their perfectly coordinated moves through the narrow winding streets, and that I was about to experience my final Easter in Utrera.


  1. Hi Maya, wonderful post and very beautiful photos. Your post brought back wonderful memories of my trip to Spain. I have not been in Spain during Easter, but I was there for the Fiesta de la Almudena in Madrid. It was one of my fondest memories. I would love to one day visit Spain during this time.

    Thanks so much for sharing your photos and fond memories of your time in Spain. Happy Easter.

  2. Hi Kathy, thanks for your comments. When I went through my files I was disappointed to find that I have so few pictures of Semana Santa. I guess I thought I would always be there for another year. If you ever get a chance to visit during Easter, it really is magical.