Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The Arrastre de Caudas: A Holy Week Tradition in Quito, Ecuador

I recently ran across an interesting item on the very fine liturgical photo-oriented blog The Far Sight 2.0 on the Holy Week custom of the so-called "Dragging of the Trains," a curious penitential procession associated with Spy Wednesday in Holy Week conducted by the cathedral canons and archbishop of Quito, where a large role is played by the opened cappe magne worn by the prelates in attendance; the photos below also show clearly the old custom of wearing the cappa hood over the head associated with penitential days. The chapter processes through the town, their long, long black trains dragging behind them, the archbishop at their head, bearing an enormous black flag with a large red cross. The rite concludes at the cathedral where the canons prostrate themselves and the archbishop shows the flag to the assembled faithful as a reminder of Christ's suffering and death.

The procession appears, fortunately, to have survived the ravages of the last forty years, and persists in all its peculiar glory to this day. If any of our readers, especially those in South America, can comment, I'd be very interested to hear what you have to say, and if any analogous rituals are conducted elsewhere in the Catholic world.

Larger versions of these photos can be found here, as well a piece including some intriguing photos of Spanish canons in colorful vesture, which can be viewed here.

More recent articles:

For more articles, see the NLM archives: