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Saturday, April 27, 2019

Zamora's Medieval Treasures: Holy Week 2019

Tuesday night of Holy Week
Jessica Knauss 2019 
I honestly thought that, this being my second Holy Week in Zamora, I could maintain a more distanced perspective on this apotheosis of folklore, popular religion, and art. I figured I'd pick up the processions I missed last year and the week would be mostly normal, a proper rest during which I could probably get some writing done.

How quickly we forget!

Last year, I had to skip the Friday of Sorrows procession of the Penitential Brotherhood of the Most Holy Christ of the Holy Spirit because the weather was terrible. Being the first late-night procession, I didn't know what I was missing and so didn't have the wherewithal to trek across Zamora in the nighttime wind and rain. This year, I arrived early enough to catch the perfect spot at the iron fence around the cathedral atrium, early enough to watch several TV crews setting up. And still I thought it would be no big deal.

The cathedral plaza filled with enthusiasts, and the air became thick with expectancy. The choir assembled in the atrium, and one of the choristers even came out to the fence where I was to chat with his girlfriend. And then the first brotherhood members appeared in their white monklike hoods with  the first "float" an intensely heavy bell that rang loud enough to imbue everything with medieval-tinged magic.

Holy Week magic was back!

I couldn't miss anything from then on. I saw every procession I missed last year and tried to revisit old favorites to a memorable, soggy conclusion. I saw colors, smelled incense, and above all, heard amazing music.

I'd booked a trip to Palencia when I was still thinking I would be more blasé about Zamoran Holy Week, and managed to catch a procession there, too. Amazing to compare to two cities' Holy Saurday traditions.

The trip to Palencia was well worth it, and you will see some gems from that medieval province on this blog.

I've now seen every single one of the processions already (some of them twice), so trust me, there's no way I'll lose my head over the magic of Holy Week again. (Hmmm...)

To round out your experience of Holy Week in Zamora, visit last year's post and last year's anticipatory post