There are many members of brotherhoods, experts and scholars on this special religious celebration. There are also numerous debate topics among members of brotherhoods, such as the walking of the images along the streets of our city, what music is appropiate or not for the good passing of the procession, which goldsmith should be commissioned the design of the new posts of the canopy… but we do not often wonder, at least in my short experience as a member of a brotherhood, the origin of Holy Week: where does this unique way of commemorating the death and resurrection of Christ come from? What was the beginning?
For professor and journalist from Córdoba Antonio Varo Pineda, a well-known member of a brotherhood and town crier of the Holy Week in Córdoba in 1986, there is a great parallelism between the old religious plays and the current processions at Holy Week. Varo starts from the idea that most paces, clearly refering to the mysteries (paces where scenes from the Passion of Christ are represented: the Triumphal Entry, The Arrest, The Crowning with Thorns…), the situation and symbology ot the images show us an almost theatrical situation, and he even suggests the possibility that both have the same origin, although nowadays we think of them as two completely different realities.
If we go back to the Middle Ages, we can remember that, despite a brief interruption due to a negative concept of theatrical plays, the theatrical activity was very frequent in religious ceremonies. Representations barely consisted of the reading of some Gospel passages by several priests. With time, Gospel scenes became more complex and, together with the introduction of profane elements, representations were taken out of the temples and a difference was gradually created between religious and profane plays.
Religious plays evolved as such; however, we have to make a new distinction, since a great part of it gave more importance to the purely theatrical aspect, whereas the other one came closer to liturgy, and the latter, according to Antonio Varo, will take us to the current processions at Holy Week.
When the representations went out of the temple, new problems arose: how could Christ, the Virgin Mary or the Apostles be represented without being vile or disrespectful? The carnal and daily faces of the people were substituted by masks or sacred images, and the latter adapted best to what was being represented due to their hieratic attitude and majesty. On the other hand, we can highlight the allegorical paces that went along our streets in procession until around 30 years ago; the characters were actors, generally children, who remained still on the paces, which moved on wheels.
The consolidation of the image as the main element of the processional scenography did not solve the problem of the people’s participation in the festival; and this is how the concept of the nazareneappeared, which, as we all know, has come to our days and it has undoubtedly consolidated as an essential key of the processional parade.
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