Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Semana Santa Practice

Now don't let the title confuse you, I'm not the one practicing for Semana Santa (Holy Week). Actually, I will be heading to the great city of London. Many of my Spanish friends are flabbergasted I wont be in Spain to participate in the festivities of Semana Santa. Although I am slightly disappointed I wont experience one of the most incredible and important holidays in Spain, I can't say that I'm not excited to see the historically wonderful diverse city of London. Rather than experiencing Semana Santa in it's full glory, I have been delighted in 3 separate occasions of observing the men practice the march of Maria.

On my way home last night from swimming laps at the municipal pool, I was walking down the main street in Rota, and happened to get distracted by a group of men practicing for Semana Santa. Now, I can imagine you are wondering how a group of men are practicing at 11:00pm in the middle of the street. During Semana Santa, many if not all of the churches build thrones portraying statues of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Jesus. The carriages are extremely large and take at least 25 men to carry. I suppose they need to build endurance for this week long trek, as well as practice the steps to the music that will be played live by a band, which I also hear in the evenings.

All three of the times I have witnessed the groups practicing in Jerez, La Carolina, and Rota I have been amazed by the teamwork but more so the devotion these men give to God. For one, time is a precious thing, so their sacrifice of time to God is inspiring. Now the times I have seen the groups practicing haven't been the most agreeable times; for instance, late Friday night and early Saturday morning. Not to mention their conditions aretn' the most desirable either. They are walking underneath what looks like an over sized bunk bed with weights on top and around their waist stuffed underneath this frame shoulder to shoulder. Then they have to march in sequence as a group to the rhythm of the music. No wonder they begin practicing a month in advanced!

Jerez Practice Group

Last night after passing the group and going on my merry way, I couldn't help to notice the shuffles of their feet and the calls from the guide. The resemblance of this practice for Semana Santa parallels the life of a Christian, and how important it is to live a life that pleases God. These men are out late at night carrying heavy weights, and shuffling their feet as brother of Christ to please the one that gave his life for humanity. Now if that doesn't make you appreciate the blessing of life then I don't know what will.

This metaphor will sit with me for the entirety of my life.

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