A little religious processioning
In Madrid last weekend, we were walking down the street from the Palacio back to the Puerta del Sol, when suddenly we were halted by the crowds. Policemen had stopped the traffic from crossing the intersection, and by angling ourselves, we could see a parade coming down the street! It was about 9:30 pm, and getting dark outside, but there was still enough light to see that this was a parade of priests.
Yes, that’s right. A parade of priests. The first grouping was mostly young men, several of whom were smiling and waving to the crowd. Others were walking quietly in prayer. One young man even asked for a bottle of water, which the crowd willingly provided. Following this group came the older priests, some of whom had canes. These men were definitely more serious, although there were still friendly interactions. One man in particular was quite popular, and he stopped to shake a few hands.
The next bit is hard to describe, and I’m still not exactly sure what it was, but it was a very large and ornate gold box, being driven on a small tractor bed. It could even have been a shrine, or a coffin, I suppose. At this point the crowd was ecstatic, throwing flowers and rice in the air. A local choir showed up and sang a hymn! Bill suggested that it was the bones of a saint, being paraded through the town, and I suppose this is entirely possible.
Coming up at the end of the procession were the nuns, who did not interact with the public at all, but kept their heads down and followed the procession quietly. After they had passed, many people in the crowd joined in, so that the parade was extended to include the public.
We continued on our way back to the hotel, but it seemed that most of the crowd followed the procession. I wonder where they were going?