la procesión de San Germán

» Posted by | 0 comments

They carry the burden

They carry the burden

Until all the gods are in

Until all the gods are in

la procesión de San Germán – by Frank Xavier – This is a photo essay of what is called a procesión in Spanish. It is a mainly Catholic event which occurs in most cities of Puerto Rico to commemorate important religious events like Easter. It was a ritual brought here with the Spanish in the Fifteenth century but is a custom that dates back to similar religious processions in the pagan cultures of Greece and Rome.

 

The procesión consists of a religious parade beginning and ending at the cathedral. Every Puerto Rican town is designed with a cathedral in the square in the middle of town. The priest guides the ceremony as they travel through the ancient streets carrying a statue of Jesus carrying the cross and other various saints and figures in the Catholic Church. The process sometimes can be devastating for the ones carrying the saints as they are usually very heavy and distances lengthy and exhausting; not to mention the heat and humidity.

 

Every town has its own version of the procession. For example the city of Añasco’s procession is done in the Parish of the Monserrate. This building has very long stairways and some of the participants take a promesa, or promise to undertake some personal sacrifice. They will seal the promise by crawling up and down the stairs on their knees.

 

Higher men join in for a laugh

Higher men join in for a laugh

The incense fragrances the town, so you know

The incense fragrances the town, so you know

Other processions such as in the Parish of Ponce take place at the beach. The parishioners take their saints on in two different boats around the sea. They meet at a given point, salute each other and return them to land.

 

This procesión takes place in San Germán. San Germán is one of the founding cities of Puerto Rico in conjunction with Caparra. Moreover, historically it was one of the richest cities in the west side of the island and commercially in competition with San Juan during the time of the Spanish. Its procesión is known to be one of the biggest in the West, where thousands gather for the ceremony.

 

The San Germán procesión was shot on April 18, 2014. The project consisted of photographing the entire course of the activity and capturing the essence of the people present. I searched for images that would take in to account the whole context of the ceremony for non native viewers so they could feel what it would be like to be in a procession.

With no further comments, please enjoy. Frank

 

A priest following history

A priest following history

Altar boys follow the lines

Altar boys follow the lines

For a year, peace of mind is restored

For a year, peace of mind is restored

The faithful gather around

The faithful gather around

They cry and laugh

They cry and laugh

CLICK FIRST PHOTO TO ENLARGE AND THEN THE ARROW TO NAVIGATE THE SLIDESHOW

1960s Photo of a procesión in possibly Coamo (State Road 150/14)

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>