Friday, March 25, 2005

Good Friday and processions

Today is Good Friday. Always a sad day to my mind. I know it had to happen in order the Easter promise to be fulfilled but the horror of it.

When in 1990 I went to Spain, my dh and I were caught in the Palm Sunday celebrations. We had gone out to find a place to eat, and became engulfed. The parade with its people in faceless cowled robes beating themselves with whips, the one with chains around his middle and the low keening of the women was all very pagan. One man reached out towards me and I saw blood on his face from the whip he used. Then every where we went in Southern Spain, the towns seemed to have some sort of procession with people doing public penance. This, I thought, is what the Spanish Inquisition wrought.

A few years later, we were travelling from Santa Fe NM where my father spent his teenage years back to Denver via Taos. Along the way, we saw the pilgrims going off to Chimayo. Many were walking, and a few carried large crosses. One man was bent double with the weight. In light of my previous Spanish experience, I had no wish to go and we bypassed the town.

I do find it rather comforting that Easter is the first Sunday after the first full moon of the Spring Equinox. It does hark back to the early days. And I do find comfort in Good Friday but it is the processions that haunt my dreams.

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