A Long Weekend


The older residents of the pueblo are going about their business as normal, but each keeping one eye on the skies. Although the statistics say that rain is unlikely for the Easter parades, once seen through the distorting mirror of folk memory it looks all the more probable; the images of wailing hysteria among the rained-off costaleros tend to stick in the memory.

These elder generations could, themselves, cope admirably with such setbacks. A ruined ceremony is hardly the worst thing they’ve ever experienced, after all. Their current fears of bad weather are instead for their children and grandchildren, nephews and nieces, who have spent all of their free time in recent months making costumes, rehearsing the carrying of the religious icons, and performing the drum beats and slow march of the penitents. The cancellation of the big day due to a bad spell of weather is something they can barely stand. That the cause could be interpreted as an act of God doesn’t seem to provide any comfort.

An opiate for the masses, opined Karl Marx a century or so ago, and it’s still the case. For these younger faithful, Easter is big news – a chance for a new generation of those with the appropriate form of dependency issue to set aside the methadone of La Voz and Big Brother and for once have the opportunity to mainline a dose of the good stuff.

Not that I would dream, of course, of denying them their right to the rite, whatever my heathen lack of belief; after all, the concept of truth in this modern, democratic era, no longer seems to rely on proof or evidence, but is apparently a function of how, and how noisily, the majority casts its vote, and how the drooling media then converts that vote into scripture. And woe betide that I or anybody else see fit to point out the gaping flaws in such a ‘democratic’ system. That’s just the sort of modern blasphemy that really will get me nailed to something one of these days.

So I’ll wish them all clear skies and good luck in their discourse with a higher power. I hope they all get their messages in before the lines close on Sunday. Meanwhile, I’m content to enjoy the pageantry and the long weekend – not that the whole event leaves me totally unmoved:

I marvel at what can be achieved by a group of ordinary folk in pursuit of a common goal, once fuelled with sufficient guilt and dogma.

I’m impressed at how traditions can bend and evolve with the changing times, without losing the illusion of their unchanging link with the past.

But most of all I’m moved to a little sadness, as I hear the barked command and see the effigy once more hefted aloft, of how deeply in these moments I feel the untimely loss of Dave Allen.


2 thoughts on “A Long Weekend

  1. Dave Allen a big favourite here too. There was a man who knew how to deal with the Catholic church. He had an attitude toward it that many Irish people have since adopted, but he was ahead of his time.

    This was a good, if not quite splenetic then at least sardonic, take on the whole thing. I love the theatre and, as you point out, the communality.

    That said, we’re off to the Moroccan coast tomorrow for a few nights…

    • Thanks, Robin … I didn’t even mean to be sardonic, really – I’ve nothing against the Catholic church (or any other), I just miss reality sometimes …
      Enjoy Morocco!

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