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Modern Day Semana Santa

March 17, 2008 – 11:02 am

Penitence just isn’t what it used to be. Who would have imagined back in 1890, for example, that those bearing the heavy floats through the streets would one day have the support of… physiotherapists?

That’s right. I saw it myself this weekend on the local news. Right there on the screen was an emminent physiotherapist advising throne (float) bearers across Andalucia that many of the traditional – even permanent – injuries incurred by carrying floats are entirely avoidable if only they would do a series of exercises and stretches before and after carrying so much weight over cobble stone streets for up to five hours.

The result of a combined effort to lift the floatThe Costaleros prepare to lift

In Córdoba, in fact, there is an actual “Centre for Attention for Floatbearers” with educational posters on the walls showing “costaleros” (as they are known in Spanish) proper postures to use when lifting and setting down the thrones as well as how to do the exercises designed to save them much pain during the days and months (years?) after Semana Santa. The place is even equipped with massage tables!

So there you have it: the all new, improved version of Holy Week. The same spectacular processions, music, saetas, magic, but without the risk of lifelong injury for those who make this amazing event happen.

Don’t forget, the average float weighs well over a ton!

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