This weekend it was all about the Virgin. Thousands upon thousands of people took part in the various events which we previewed last Friday. Here’s the second of two parts from our report for 2009. The first can be found here.
On Sunday morning at 10:30, the Virgin is brought out of her basilica, paraded around the Plaza de la Virgen, and then brought into the cathedral — a tiny procession lasting just 30 minutes. “How pleasant and non-threatening”, you think. HA! YOU ARE A FOOL.
During the procession, thousands of believers are trying to touch the virgin and they will stop at nothing to be blessed. People just lose their freaking minds; crying, screaming, crowd-surfing, pushing, cackling and (awesomely) passing their infant children to strangers, who pass them to other strangers, who pass them to other strangers, who foist them upon the virgin and then pass them back again. It is shocking.
“Mommy, I won again! I’ve always been super lucky!”
“Oh yeah, um. That’s because I let some stranger throw you against a statue when you were 6 months old.”
“… I hate you, Mommy.”
Honestly, this procession is kind of terrifying … at one point, I was being shoved from both the front and behind, and thought I might get trampled. But if you’re prepared for the madness, the fervor of the believers is truly something to behold.
At 6:30pm on Sunday evening, a much more sober procession takes place around the heart of the city. The protagonist is once again the Virgin, but for some reason nobody desperately wants to touch her this time. They solemnly stand by and let her pass. Yes, those same madmen who were literally crying and shaking with ecstasy mere hours ago, are now content to throw rose petals and applaud. What, did Our Lady lose her magical blessing power, or has the entire city lost its mind? Because it has to be one or the other.
The procession is looooong and fairly boring. There’s not much to see besides the Virgin at the conclusion of the parade, so unless you’re a huge fan of watching old women in black dresses walk slowly, don’t feel bad about coming just for the end.