Every year, one of the biggest processions in Spain takes place here in
Alicante, on the second Thursday after Easter. The 6 km route goes from the St.
Nicolas cathedral in the centre of Alicante to the Santa Faz monastery on the
outskirts of the city. The monastery houses an important relic, a piece of the
cloth used by St. Veronica to wipe Jesus’s face on the cross, later divided
into three parts, one of which ended up in Alicante. The relic was involved in
the Miracle of the Tear in 1489, ending a long drought that plagued the area
that year (we could use a similar miracle right now, it has not rained for more
than 100 days and the water reservoirs are getting dangerously low). The whole
story is explained in the link at the bottom of the post.
The procession this year had more than 300,000 participants. Some of them do it
for religious reasons, others because it is a local tradition, and still others
just to have fun. The latter is especially true of the young people who used to
walk pushing shopping carts full of booze and snacks which they would consume
on the beach afterwards. But since 3-4 years ago this huge “botellón” is not
allowed, and the police is out in force on the beach to make sure the
prohibition is kept. I am sure the young revellers manage to imbibe a bit
anyway, but it is nothing like it used to be. At the other extreme are the
truly devoted pilgrims who walk barefoot.
The procession ends at the monastery where an outdoor Mass is held on the
square in front of the church, and then, this being Spain, a giant picnic
ensues, and the local bars and restaurants do a roaring business.
I live about 3 km from the Santa Faz monastery, so I went there on bicycle
(obviously the entire area was closed to traffic), parked it next to a mobile
police unit for added security, and walked a couple of km towards the city in
order to meet the procession. I then walked back to Santa Faz with the
procession, taking in the ambience and of course taking pictures throughout.
The resulting gallery is here:
As always, comments and critique are welcome and appreciated.
For more details of the religious background of the event, look here:
Слава Україні! Героям слава!
Themed Olympus Photo Exhibition: http://www.tope.nl/