Holy Week

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Semana Santa (Holy Week) is celebrated throughout Spain, but is especially significant for the people of Jumilla, as their Semana Santa is the oldest one in the region of Murcia and considered to be of National Touristic Interest. Semana Santa lasts for more than a week.  I don’t know whether this is generally the case in Spain or a Jumillano trait, but most events referred to as occurring over a “week” are 10 days or more!.  It is one of the highlights of the year for Jumillanos, who are justly proud of their tradition.

The first Semana Santa celebrations in Jumilla were held in 1411, inspired by the preaching of St Vincent Ferrer in the old church of Santa Maria de Gracia, which was situated in the original town of Jumilla, beside the Castle.  A new church Santa María de Rabal was subsequently built on the remains of an Islam necropolis, between the years 1430 and 1500, when the population living in the shelter of the castle moved down to the plain.  The founding of this church is said to have been inspired by the visit of St. Vincent too. All that remains today however are the main entrance and the church tower.

The first cofradía, or brotherhood, was the cofradía of Vera Cruz y Santo Sepulcro, which originated in 1609. There are now a total of 19 cofradías in Jumilla, with more than 4,500 members, who organise the numerous Semana Santa processions.

Semana Santa starts on Viernes de Dolores (the Friday before Palm Sunday) and finishes on Easter Sunday and on most days there is at least one procession to watch.

Both old and young Jumillanos take part, dressed in traditional costume, either helping to carry one of the countless religious statues, playing in one of the many bands or handing out sweets to the eagerly watching children.

The main “Caramelada” is on Domingo de Resurrección, where Spanish children scramble for the sweets that are thrown on the street, rather than over indulging themselves with chocolate Easter eggs.  However in recent years we have spotted Easter eggs on sale in our local Aldi, so we suspect that some children will have the best of both worlds. If you head to Plaza del Rollo for 12 noon on Easter Sunday you will witness the meeting of Jesus and the Virgin Mary there, before the parade down Calle Canovas in front of the eagerly awaiting children clutching their plastic bags.

There will be three “tamboradas” this year for those of you who enjoy listening to drums. The main drumming sessions will be on Saturday 23 and Saturday 30 March, with the drummers marching from Plaza de Arriba to the parking area behind the indoor market.  Friends of ours who live near there usually ask to visit us for the night rather than try to sleep with drums being banged enthusiastically outside their apartment until the early hours of the morning!

The children’s tamborada will take place on Monday 25 March at 17.00 and the children will march from Plaza de Arriba to the Paseo Lorenzo Guardiola.  Needless to say the children don’t drum through the night, though many children can be seen still beating their drums as they walk back home!

Wine always features in Jumilla´s Semana Santa, as well as during other fiestas. This year the popular Miniferia del Vino will be held between 12 and 3 on Saturday 23 March in the Jardin del Rey Don Pedro.  For a nominal sum you can purchase a wine glass and then wander around the stands sampling some of Jumilla’s best wines, with nibbles of cheese, ham, bread etc to accompany your wine.

Other highlights during Semana Santa include the following:

Palm Sunday. This is the occasion where Jesus rides through the streets of Jumilla on a donkey, only stopping when proud parents pass their babies to him for photos: inevitably this means that this is the slowest procession!  The procession leaves St John the Baptist Church at 12 noon approximately.

The Procession of Silence.  This is held late at night and all the lights in the old town are switched off, with only a few bonfires to light the way for the penitents, some of whom have bare feet as they drag chains behind them. The procession will leave Santiago Church at midnight on Tuesday 26 March.

“El Prendimiento” This dramatic re-enactment of the taking of Jesus includes scenes of the devil tempting Christ and the angels singing encouragement to him.  Although the angels were sweet, the devil had the best lines and was loudly applauded!  The drama takes place in Plaza Arriba at 17.30 on Wednesday 27 March.

The visit to the Monuments, popularly known as Las Manolas.  The señoras parade in their finery, wearing traditional mantillas and staggeringly high heels, accompanied by the señors from the cofradías dressed in their robes or their smartest suits. They will be parading down Calle Canovas, near the tourist office, from 17.30 on Thursday 28 March.

I will be updating this post next Thursday with further details of days, times and other events, so please return then!

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Semana Santa Jumilla 1411 – 2011

 

Semana Santa statue

The Dominican missionary St. Vincent Ferrer was born in Valencia in 1350 and preached in many different parts of Spain.  In 1411 he visited Jumilla where, after being inspired by his sermons, the town celebrated their first Semana Santa. 

600 years after St. Vincent Ferrer’s visit, Jumilla is preparing for some extraordinary celebrations to commemorate the 600th anniversary of Semana Santa and is hoping that many visitors will join them to share in the passion, colour, music and pageantry of this momentous occasion.

Children’s Semana Santa

Children's Tamborada

The following events are specifically organised for the children, although many children will also take part in the main processions, plus some parents will be seen carrying babies dressed in traditional costumes.

Thursday 14 April

17.00. 3rd Tamborada Infantil at Plaza de Arriba.  Children under the age of 12 will take part in this procession, playing their drums with much enthusiasm – and skill too!  The event is being organised in collaboration with Caritas, who will be accepting donations of non perishable foods and household products. The procession will start in Plaza de Arriba and end outside Teatro Vico.

Sunday 24 April

12.00 Easter Sunday and the traditional meeting between Jesús Resucitado and the Virgen Gloriosa in Plaza del Rollo.  Lots of excited children will be waiting along Calle Cánovas, because after the procession comes the traditional Caramelada, where the children will be scrambling to grab handfuls of sweets.

Children scrambling for sweets

 

Main Semana Santa processions

Friday 15 April

Semana Santa will officially begin on Viernes de Dolores, the Friday before Palm Sunday, with a procession at 21.30 from the Iglesia de Santiago. 

Sunday 17 April

12.00  Procession of the Palms  In this procession, a group representing Jesus riding on a donkey with the Apostles around him will be accompanied by children dressed as Hebrews.  The procession leaves from Iglesia de San Juan and continues to the parish church of Santiago via Plaza del Rollo and Calle Cánovas, with Jesús declaiming his prophesy about the destruction of Jerusalem.

Palm Sunday procession

21.00  In previous years the statue of “Christ tied to the column”, made by the renowned Murcian sculptor Francisco Salzillo, was brought down from the Monastery of Santa Ana in solitary splendour.  This year, as part of the 600th Anniversary, the Franciscans have agreed for the statue of “Abuela Santa Ana” to be brought down to Jumilla at the same time.  The procession through the streets of Jumilla will be from the Ermita de San Agustín to the Iglesia Mayor de Santiago, and I imagine the streets will be lined with both young and old for this historic event.

Cristo Amarrado a la Columna by Francisco Salzillo

Tuesday 19 April

23.30 Celebración Penitencial  This is held in Iglesia de Santiago, followed by the Procession of Silence where the penitents, all dressed in black, and many of them with bare feet and dragging chains behind them, walk through the dark streets of the old town.  All the street lights are switched off during the procession, and the only light comes from bonfires lit in the streets.

Procesión del Silencio

Wednesday 20 April 

17.30 Re-enactment of the Capture of Christ, in Plaza de Arriba, with 18 actors taking part.  “Los Armaos”, the Roman soldiers, will also be participating in this act.

21.30 Procession of “Jesús Prendido”, plus other statues representing Peter’s denial, Judas’ Kiss, St John the Apostle – ten in total – from Iglesia de El Salvador.

Thursday 21 April

17.30  Visit to the monuments  This is one of my favourite processions, where the lovely señoras in their mantillas and lace dresses parade with proud señors (also dressed in their finery) as they visit the monuments in Jumilla, accompanied by local bands.

Señoras wearing their best mantillas

 

21.30 Procession of the Virgen de la Amargura  The procession leaves the Iglesia de Santa María, going through the streets of the old town, and finishes in Iglesía del Salvador.

Friday 22 April

09.30 Procession “Antigua” This is the first of two extraordinary processions to commemorate the 600th Anniversary.  Starting at the Iglesía de Santa María, ten of the oldest Semana Santa statues (pre 20th century) will be carried through Jumilla’s old town.

11.00 Procession of the Calvary  One of the largest processions takes place on Good Friday.  Sixteen statues are carried from the Iglesía del Salvador around the steep and winding streets of Jumilla, then along Calle Cánovas and up to Calle Canalejas before returning to the church.

Saturday 23 April

19.00 “Magno Entierro”  The second extraordinary procession for the 600th Semana Santa. If you only watch one procession this year, this is the one to watch, with 35 statues being carried through the streets of Jumilla.  The procession leaves from Iglesia de Santa María and finishes at the Jardín del Rollo, next to the tourist office.

Sunday 24 April

Easter Sunday procession

12.00 Procession of “Jesús Resucitado”.  As mentioned above, this is the final event where the “Risen Jesus” meets the “Glorious Virgin” in the Plaza del Rollo.  After this the procession departs from the Plaza and goes along Calle Cánovas, with sweets being thrown to the eager children, clutching the plastic bags that they hope to fill to the brim with sweets.

Semana Santa Mini-feria del Vino

Many people will know about Jumilla from drinking the wine produced by the many bodegas in and around the town.  There will be the perfect opportunity to sample some of the best Jumilla wines on Saturday 16th April, when the Mini-feria del Vino is being held in Jardín del Rey Don Pedro between 12.00 and 15.00.  Entry will cost 3€, which is a bargain when you consider around 20 bodegas will be offering you the chance to try their wines.  Hope to see you there!

Mini-feria del Vino

 

Vino y Cuaresma

If you are visiting Jumilla on Friday 15 April, why not visit one of the ten bars and restaurants offering a tapa and glass of Carchelo wine for 2€?  On Saturday 16 April, the same establishments will be offering dinner for 15 to 30 euros, which includes a bottle of Carchelo wine between 2 people.  Finally, Sunday lunch on 17 April will cost you from 22 to 30 euros, including a 500ml bottle of Vino Canalizo per person.

Look for the distinctive posters outside participating restaurants!

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