Men in hoods

A few quick, catch-up posts. There are so many bits and pieces I want to tell you about that it is going to be a bit scrappy. But if I don’t catch up now, I never will.

There was the Procession de la Sanch on Good Friday. What an evocative event. It brought me back to childhood and the old Corpus Christi processions in which (if memory serves me right) we were allowed to wear our communion dresses and followed behind priests and nuns (LOVED the dresses, hated the priests and nuns). All grist for the mill.

Anyway, mainland Europeans do processions much better than we ever did and the Procession de la Sanch was no exception. A stations of the cross with a twist, it made its way from the ancient church through the streets of Collioure watched by a large gathering of awed tourists. This procession tells at least 2 stories, which made it a kind of literary event. It is the passion and the agony of Christ intermingled with the story of Vincent Ferrier and his followers.

The stations were placed at various intervals around the narrow streets of the town, all artistically imagined, while loudspeakers played sacred music and relayed the invocations of the priest. As you would expect, the participants silently carried many iconic images along the streets, along with flaming torches.

Now, here’s the twist. As you might not expect, many of the participants were garbed in colour-variations of robes reminiscent of the klu klux klan. Most wore black, a few wore red. Spooky. These anonymous participants represent the brotherhood of La Sanch, founded by the aforementioned Vincent in 1416. The same Vincent believed heartily in penitence as salvation and La Sanch was formed to help and accompany the condemned to their execution. He attracted penitents from all over and the robes were to prevent the penitents from being recognised and lynched in the streets (many of them were criminals). So, the guys in red warn the crowd that the procession is coming and are the officials leading the penitents to the gallows. Needless to say, those in black are the penitents.

Suffice it to say, the event was beautiful, spooky and truly impressive all at the same time.


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