Seville and Málaga are always the center of attention where processions are concerned. Sure, they are impressive, grand, emotional and also crowded! For Semana Santa 2013, next week, I would like to offer you some interesting, true Andalucian alternatives. The ‘Viernes Santo’ procession in Casares on Friday and the ‘Fiesta del Toro’ in Gaucin on Easter Sunday.
Fiesta de Toro, Gaucin
I remember from years ago that a rental agent had forgotten to mention this event to one of their tenants. Not being able to read in Spanish, they ignored the notes put up to remove all cars from the village center before Sunday (Easter) morning 8.00am. Why? Because the bulls will be running freely through the narrow streets of Gaucin, chasing brave young men and destroying everything that crosses their path, including cars. The brave young men will also use any possible item to escape from an angry attack. A parked car can be quite handy to jump on in full speed or to run over. Can you image the pale white appalled faces of these poor tourists coming back home in the afternoon finding their completely trashed car?
For all who parked outside the village center de Fiesta de Toro is a spectacular event! It starts Sunday 31st of March around 10.30am at Calle Convento and finished around 13.00 . The bulls cross plaza de la Fuente, Guzmán el Bueno, C/Nueva, Los Bancos, San Juan de Dios and Barrio Alto. The ‘after-party’ is just as nice. Tapas, drinks and lots of bragging in every local bar. You cannot do otherwise than join in!
Procesión de Viernes Santo, Casares
The procession of Viernes Santo, (Friday the 29th of March) starts around 21.00 in the evening at the church on ‘The Llano’. The Virgen de Dolores (Mourning Virgin) and the Santo Entierro (Christ) are slowly passing through the narrow streets of Casares, C/Fuente, Plaza de España, C/Carrera. They are accompanied by the typical sinister drums that state the rhythm of the march. You’ll also see lots of children dressed up as the purple ‘penitentes’ and ladies with black veils (‘Mantillas). It is spectacular to see how the thrones are maneuvered through the narrow streets, how they manage to evoke the low hanging electricity cables by just a few centimeters, and move backwards and forwards to try and make the bends without scraping the walls.
The encounter on the village square is the highlight of the procession. In absolute silence, which is rare for the Andaluces, the Virgen is made to bow for her dead son. A ‘falseta’, a devoted song in Flamenco style, is to be heard from one of the balconies and you can see tears rolling down the cheeks of some of the women applauding afterwards. To finish this true Andalusian event, follow the crowd into one of the bars, of course, for lots of drinks and tapas!