Yesterday we walked to Zamora, about 20 kilometres, and settled into a hotel that we will stay in for 4 nights. The hotel is in a little town called Villamora, about 5 kilometres from Zamorra. Last night, we went to the little church in the town and watched a procession through the streets. The centerpieces of the procession were large “floats” which consisted of platforms, called “cargadas,” with large life-sized plaster images, one of Jesus carrying the cross, another of Jesus nailed to the cross, and another of Him dead. Each of these heavy scenes was carried on the shoulders of a large number of men. The procession took about two hours to go through the town.
Today we took a taxi into Zamora and witnessed a “big town” procession. There were twelve huge cargadas, each one depicting consecutive scenes on the passion of Christ. The cargsdas were each carried by up to forty men who stayed underneath hidden bt a curtain and decorative siding. Each of the twelve scenes was followed by a complete band, playing appropriate, and at times stirring, music. The entire procession included about 500 men, women and children dressed in black robes and with tall cones of black material poking high in the sky and covering their faces, except for two eye holes. Quite a sight! The procession took two hours to pass by and wound its way for at least a kilometre. This whole procession was put on by an organization that was founded in 1561. There have been several similar processions this week, each put on by a different organization and each using different cargadas. Another one started at 4:00 when we were getting ready to leave town
It’s important to note that these processions began in medieval times and illustrated the passion in a real way that simple people could understand. For most people, it was the highlight of the year and depicted the important message that God loved all the people of the world enough to send His Son in human form to die for them. Clearly, that is the message that is still being delivered in Zamora today.