Holy Week Processions in Santa Cruz de La Palma

Holy Week Procession of barefoot penitents leaving the church of San Francisco, Santa Cruz de la Palma
Holy Week Procession leaving the church of San Francisco

It’s Holy Week, and in this Catholic country, a lot of people take it very seriously. The bigger churches hold processions, which look very exotic to my English eyes.

It’s not so that they take the obviously-heavy statues along the street. It’s the costumes. They remind me of the Klu Klux Klan. This is unfair, because the costumes concerned are far older than the KKK. They ensure anonymity, but in this case it’s not to avoid prosecution; apparently it’s to stop onlookers admiring your piety.

Traditional costumes copied by (not from) the KKK, Holy Week procession, Santa Cruz de la Palma
Traditional costumes copied by (not from) the KKK

The Tourist Office produce a leaflet which lists the processions and their routes. These photos are of the Good Friday Calgary procession from the church of San Francisco. The men in red and white are from the Brotherhood of the Crucified and the True Cross (Cofradia del Crucificado y la Vera Cruz).

Procession with the statue of Our Lady of Loneliness, Santa Cruz de la Palma
Procession with the statue of Our Lady of Loneliness

These statures are The Crucified (1968, Ezequiel de Leon Dominguez), The Holy Mary Magdelene (XIX century, Fernando Estevez del Sacramento) and St John the Evangelist (1863 Aureilo Carmona Lopez).

Procession with statues of Jesus, Mary Magdelene and St John
Procession with statues of Jesus, Mary Magdelene and St John, Santa Cruz de la Palma

Each cofradia is devoted to a particular statue, and they’re expensive to join – some cofradias in Serville cost over 1,000€, mostly for the costume. To the best of my knowledge, the cofradias exists solely for these processions, and do nothing else. They don’t, for example, feed the hungry, buy medicines for the sick, or save whales.

I can easily understand suffering yourself in order to reduce someone else’s suffering. Personally I don’t see the point of this.

Penitent walking barefoot with heavy chains, Holy Week Procession, Santa Cruz de la Palma
Penitent walking barefoot with heavy chains, Holy Week procession, Santa Cruz de la Palma

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