Thursday, April 06, 2017

Holy Week Processions in Portugal

Thanks to our friend Marco da Vinha, author of the blog Alma Bracarense, for letting us know about these videos of a traditional Holy Week procession in the little town of Óbidos, Portugal. (Click here for information in English from the town’s website.) The first shows the Good Friday procession representing the burial of the dead Christ, with soldiers, girls who I believe represent angels, carrying the emblems of the Lord’s Passion (the title of the Cross etc.), the statue of Christ Himself, followed by the Virgin of Sorrows with a sword though Her heart, and a band playing mournful music. About half way though, we see the bier brought to the public square, where the Miserere of Allegri is sung; it is then carried to a representation of the tomb.

Here are a couple of other videos from Holy Week 2015 in Óbidos. The first shows “the changing of the statues,” when they are moved on the Saturday evening before Palm Sunday to the locations from which they will depart during the Holy Week processions. The second is the Way of the Cross done on Palm Sunday; the video highlights a speech by Veronica, (I’m sorry I don’t know enough Portuguese to tell what she’s saying, but it’s lovely anyway).
The procession on Palm Sunday is led by a traditional character called the “gafaú”, who walks barefoot, with his head covered in a cloth, carrying an instrument known as a “serpentão“, and announcing to the crowd that there will be soon be a condemnation.

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