This procession was the one that I was able to best document photographically, so it was fortunate that this procession even happened. It had been raining when Isa and I went for a walk along the other side of the River Duero at about six and we feared that the rain wasn’t going to stop before the procession started at half past eight.
I had to attend this Cofradía (also called Real Hermandad del Santísimo Cristo de las Injurias) by myself because Isa had an appointment with the dentist. The most important part of this procession happens in the beginning at the Plaza de la Cathedral. Therefore, it was important that I arrived in advance. The only real way to take good photos is to be in the first row, so I arrived an hour before the procession was set to start.
Already, most parts of the plaza were filled 2-3 people deep. I spotted one strip along a wall where it seemed I could potentially get into the front. Here, where there wasn’t much space between the yellow fences and the wall, people were standing against the wall in a single row instead of being pushed up against the fence. There was still some space available, as long as someone was willing to slide over for you.
I made my way in to where there was the biggest space. I smiled at my neighbor who smiled back, but who then had me move to his other side because “it would be better.” Probably better for him as I might have blocked a bit of his view. He was between me and the archway where the procession would enter. On my other (left) side, were two older women sitting on portable chairs. We stood against the wall, occasionally watching the preparations, until a wave of people came to join us in this area. It was now important that we stand against the fence to save our spots.
I watched as they moved the incensarios (censers) from the church to the staging ground. I saw some cofrades putting on their caperuzos. As darkness finally settled over the plaza, the last of the cofrades exited through the archway to my right.
When the procession started, the old lady next to me got my attention so that I wouldn’t miss the entrance of the first flags. She pointed out the mayor who was by the gate of the cathedral preparing to speak. We watched line after line of cofrades entering the plaza. I had one of the best spots in the plaza, as I was only a few feet away from the cofrades and could witness in detail how they prepared.
There was one guy dressed a bit differently who was directing traffic. He told the lines where to go, when to make a new row, and even told them when they needed to tie their shoes or hide their pants! Some of the guys went barefoot as a symbol of pentinence. (If I was a cofrade I’d go barefoot also. I wouldn’t notice the cold and I prefer not wearing shoes anyway.) I got to watch the cofrades lighting their candles and even got to see where one guy kept his lighter. Some guys had loafers, others boots. The tunics varied in shades of tan and had an elastic band running around the middle. I was lucky also that the rows of cofrades didn’t block my view until they had all entered the plaza and filled it up completely. In total, there were about 2300 cofrades.
At this point, they brought the large image of Jesus on the cross to the gate of the cathedral. The lady next to me pointed out how beautiful it is; she had also brought to my attention the people going barefoot. Next came the part that this cofradia is known for. The cofrades were asked to go down onto their knees (de rodillas) and then asked to swear silence until the procession was completed.
The obispo (Bishop) asks:
“Hermandos de la Cofradía del Santísimo Cristo de las Injurias, ¿Jurais guardar silencio durante todo el recorride de esta santa procesión?”
The cofrades respond together:
The obispo continues:
“Si así lo hacéis, que el Señor os lo premie, y si no que os lo perdone.”
(In English: “Members of the Brotherhood of Santísimo Cristo de las Injurias, do you swear to stay silent during the length of the procession?” “Yes, we swear.” “If you do so, the Lord will praise you, and if not, he will forgive you.”)
Next, the procession filed out of the plaza on the side opposite from me. The procession was led by horses, which I unfortunately could not see from my position. It was for this reason that I said goodbye to my new friend, left the procession before the plaza had completely emptied, and hurried over to Isa’s house, where she had been watching the same procession on the TV. I was hoping to catch the horses when they arrived at the Plaza Mayor. I got lucky, and was able to snap a photograph just after they passed the plaza.
I met Isa at home and we went for dinner at an Italian restaurant (one of the fanciest in Zamora. i.e. fancy for Zamora). On the way there, we ran into Isa’s dad who was with some friends. She gave him a hard time since he was a little bit drunk from a business lunch. Even the friend, who doesn’t speak English, understood when Isa nudged me and said, “He’s drunk.”
Dinner ended at midnight. We said goodbye to her friends and headed over to watch the Capas Pardas.
The Guardian posted a photo of the Cofradías swearing. You can see it here.