Santo Entierro, Semana Santa in Tarragona

Santo Entierro Tarragona, Semana Santa
This year I wanted to show a different aspect of the main event of the Semana Santa in Tarragona by isolating the procession in to monochrome silence.

Despite thousands of people juggling for a reasonable viewpoint it is still possible to view the main procession of Santo Entierro in some empty corners of the old city.

Declared a traditional event of national interest in 1999, the procession of the Santo Entierro in Tarragona is a sombre affair and to me somehow lacks the emotional pathos and the religious fervour of those found further south of Spain. It is, however, a great sombre spectacle witnessed by over 80.000 espectadors packing the perimeter of the route: over three thousand people take part with drums setting an almost military cadence to nearly each one the 25 elements representing the stage of the entombment of Christ.

This is the culmination of the Semana Santa and the first references to the procession can be traced back to 1550. Organised by the Reial i Venerable Congregació de la Puríssima Sang de Nostre Senyor Jesucrist, the Santo Entierro has survived pestilences, wars, political upheavals with the civil war causing much of the destructions of historical garments, effigies and documents. After 1940 much has been rebuilt or restored and so the Processó del Sant Enterrament continues largely unchanged until present days.

Of the 25 congregations taking part those of the Creu de la Passió feel the most arcane. Each of its members hooded in black carry an instrument representing the Passion in complete silence. One clutches a sword, another a chalice, a lantern, chains, a rope, a sentence, an hourglass, pliers, a glass of vinegar…  some walk barefoot, you can feel the weight, the apotheosis; it’s an extraordinary sight.

I have tried to convey some of this in these images: the penitents in their isolations, the ritual, the journey, the darkest procession through the streets of Tarragona.

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