The Music maker
Not surprisingly, Holy Week has proved a somewhat subdued affair here in Malaga this year. Processions have been prohibited for obvious reasons and the vast crowds that would normally gather to witness what must surely be one of the most impressive traditions in Europe, have been reduced to a steady trickle of queues formed just to catch a fleeting glimpse of the ‘tronos’ that sit steadfastly behind closed doors.
The first time I witnessed Holy Week here in all its glory, back in the nineteen nineties, like most debutants, I was quite stunned by the whole thing, although not gifted with the stamina to watch for hours on end as so many do. No, twenty minutes or so at a stretch was ample, the rest of of my time being gainfully employed munching contentedly on a fine selection of tapas while the soundtrack out on the street provided the perfect backdrop to a newly discovered culture.
How very different from my recollections of Easter in the UK. To be honest, it was never my favourite holiday as a child, not least because it was focused on a Sunday which, as everyone knows, is the most uncomfortable day of the week, what with all that car-washing and lawn-mowing and homework and everything. Add Ben Hur to the mix and the nightmare was complete. Then there were the chocolate Easter eggs. Even as a nipper, I could sense that the effort/reward ratio was somewhat askew, as I grappled in vain with cardboard packaging roughly the size of a small Greek island, in order to salvage an egg apparently laid by a chocolate hummingbird, plus a few Smarties in cellophane bag as an afterthought.
Another scary thing about Easter Sunday was the ever-present shadow of a day trip to Blackpool or somewhere on the bank holiday Monday. This ‘trip’ would inevitably culminate in lots of dads and uncles staring at overheated engines, rubbing their chins and shaking their heads while mums and aunties passed round boiled sweets in a neverending loop, ostensibly to stave off car motion sickness but the gesture having been rendered somewhat redundant by the fact that there weren’t any cars actually in motion.
Also, we never did any exciting Easter egg hunts or anything like that in our house (I think that was a Southern Softie thing) unless you count the Caramac egg that fell down the back of the couch one year during Ben Hur, some pieces of which I like to fantasise are still there.
No, like many other things, Easter is undoubtedly better experienced in Spain, so let’s hope and pray that next year it will be fully restored to its former glory - to be witnessed in twenty minute spurts, of course.
Happy Easter, everyone.