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The Axarquía village of Riogordo comes to life at Easter with its famous Paso
11.04.14 - 12:08 -
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Easter with a passion
One of the scenes from the Passion play or El Paso of Riogordo. :: R.G
The Axarquía village of Riogordo comes to life at Easter with its famous Paso
Riogordo’s Passion play or ‘El Paso’ has been awarded a gold medal as a ‘fiesta de singularidad provincial’ or unique event
Easter is marked in Spain - and particularly in Andalucía - with numerous religious processions.
Almost every village, town and city marks the occasion with the parading of figures of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary, carried on heavy wooden platforms and decorated with fresh flowers and gleaming silver candlesticks.
But there are also a number of passion plays to witness in Malaga province, living, moving costumed recreations of the last days (and other scenes) of Jesus Christ.
Perhaps the most feted of all of these is El Paso of Riogordo, a village in the north of the Axarquiá.
And this year, sixty three years since it was first put on in 1951, the ceremony has been awarded a ‘Medalla de Oro’ (gold medal) by Malaga’s provincial government. It is listed as a ‘fiesta de singularidad provincial y fiesta de interés turístico nacional’ (a unique event, of national importance in tourism).
Though there are vestiges of evidence that the presentation of a Passion play in the village dates back to the seventeeth century, Riogordo’s El Paso really began in 1951.
Now more than 500 villagers - as well as various animals such as horses and donkeys - take part in the annual event, which takes place on two subsequent afternoons during Easter, on Good Friday and Easter Saturday.
It is said that every family in the village, where the ceremony is taken very seriously (with its own Junta or weekly committee ) has some kind of connection to El Paso.
The play takes place in a specially built arena, called ‘El Calvario’ and fittingly located on a hillside at the edge of the village.
Up to six thousand people can be seated in the outdoor auditorium and the sleepy streets of Riogordo, more habitually blocked by slow moving tractors and farm workers, become briefly crammed with visitors from all over Andalucía and further afield.

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