The port city of Ferrol is one of the starting points for the Camino route traditionally taken to Santiago by pilgrims from Britain and Ireland (the English Way or Camino Ingles) but is also widely known for its spectacular Easter traditions, the famous ‘Semana Santa de Ferrol’.
Starting on Palm Sunday and finishing on Easter Sunday (or Resurrection Sunday), the ‘Semana Santa de Ferrol’ hosts 25 processions, reenacting the passion and death Jesus in walking parades across the city. These colourful and impressive religious parades are organised by five ‘cofradías’ (fraternities) based in the city. Each ‘cofradía’ has assigned specific statues of saints (also called ‘pasos’ or steps), parades, as well as its own colours and symbols.
Holy Thursday (Xoves Santo or Jueves Santo) and Good Friday (Holy Friday, Venres Santo or Viernes Santo) mark the highlights of Easter Week in Ferrol, when the most important processions are on display, such as the meeting of Jesus with Mary before the Crucifixion on Good Friday (Santo Encontro, Holy Meeting).
Some of the religious figures or ‘pasos’ used for these processions are real artwork pieces, in many cases dating back to the XVII, XVIII and XIX centuries, and carefully kept and restored over the years by fraternity members.
One of Ferrol’s oldest ‘pasos’ is the one used for the procession called ‘Os Caladiños’ (meaning the little silent ones in Galician), taking place close to midnight on Good Friday.
It is also one of the most striking parades: while most processions are accompanied by the solemn beating of drums, for ‘Os Caladiños’, people walk in complete silence, hence its name.
*Pictures: Semana Santa de Ferrol.
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