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A wash-out with a glimmer of sun

April 25, 2011 – 8:30 am
Cristo Varon de Dolores

Paso of Cristo Varon de Dolores, seen against Saturday's stormy sky

Whether you enjoy it personally or not, it’s hard to deny that this year’s Semana Santa was a huge disappointment to audience and participators alike. Because of the rain, a record 31 out of the total 59 pasos couldn’t come out of their churches to make their journey to the cathedral. Only 25 completed their set routes; two came out of their templos, but had to beat a hasty retreat when the heavens opened, and one – which I saw – had to make a rapid alteration to its route and take refuge from the rain in the cathedral.

The saddest part was that for the first time since 1933, before the Civil War – that’s nearly 80 years – none of the Madrugada pasos came out. On the night of Jueves Santo, six processions – including the two most adored Virgins of Seville, La Esperanza de Triana and La Macarena – normally come out to a rapturous welcome, the candles glowing in the darkness making them a unforgettable sight.

I was lucky enough to see the only procession to come out on Saturday – El Sol didn’t follow its expected route, as it had to go into the cathedral earlier than scheduled to escape the downpour, and remained there for three hours waiting for an opportunity to return to its church to the south, in the barrio of Plantinar.

It’s one of the newest hermandades, this being only its second year of taking part in the Semana Santa celebrations. Both the statues, of Jesus and the Virgin Mary, are new ones.

Christ paso in front of the tobacco factory and lush foliage of Calle San Fernando

The nazarenos wore various styles of tunics and hoods, and carried different religious items, while the band, also called El Sol, plays for a number of other processions, but wore a personalised armband showing their current allegiance to this Christ, Varon de Dolores.

Hermano of El Sol

Members of the El Sol band

This all took place under a doom-laden sky, and these brave nazarenos didn’t last long on their penitencia, although they did well to make it this far in such a rain-soaked week. I can’t resist the El Sol/bad weather reference, sorry: it’s a shame the sun didn’t come out when The Sun did (well actually, it did, very briefly, but I was long gone, scared off by the dark clouds and the thought of having to deal with cold, tired, damp children).

Here’s hoping that Feria can be more sunny than muddy – my dress is pale pink, and wouldn’t cope well with stains. Powers that be, please take note.

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