The Holy Week celebrations in Valladolid have
been declared of international touristic interest. They combine,
as do the celebrations of other cities of the region with deep
courtesan and cultural roots, influences from two eras: the Semana
Santa that dates back to the 15th century, and the reorganisation
of 1920 that took place under the archbishop Gandásegui,
evidence of historic events, were found in the basement of what
was then the Provincial Museum of Fine Arts in the Palacio de
Santa Cruz. The images of Christ and the Virgin were in the temples
and have been better cared for and preserved, as they are cult
images. The historic Semana Santa of the twenties was the consequence
of a catastrophe that is still preserved by art. To reunite the
pieces of this divine puzzle was a passionate adventure, and one
which still engages much research into the art of religious images.
On Palm Sunday there is the float of La Borriquilla, made up of seven small figures that are unique in Castilla y León in being preserved from the 16th century, made from paper, glued canvas, and with the hand and faces carved in wood.
The main day of the celebrations in Valladolid is Good Friday. In the morning in the Plaza Mayor the Sermón de las Siete Palabras (Sermon of Seven Words) is held. In the afternoon, in a procession of floats with thousands of fraternity members that covers the peripheries of the old city, there are old-style theatrical representations of the most significant scenes of the Passion: the supper with the apostles, the prayer in the garden, the arrest, the Ecce Homo, the flogging, the preparations for the crucifixion, the seven words spoken by Christ on the cross, on seven floats, the death on the cross and Christ's descent from the cross, the recumbent figure, the body in the tomb and the Virgin in mourning. The Procesión General de la Pasión is made up of 31 floats, most of them constructed in the 16th and 17th centuries, and organised by the 19 penitential fraternities. Together they form an authentic street museum.
The oldest and one of the largest of these floats represents the putting up of the cross, and was made in the workshop of Francisco de Rincón in the 17th century. Today it can be seen in the Museo Nacional de Escultura (National Museum of Sculpture), a museum unequalled in all the world, and in the city's streets during Semana Santa.
One moment that makes us aware of the strange and the peculiar in Valladolid is when the float of the Virgen de las Angustias, which will have closed the Procesión de La Pasión, enters its temple and everybody sings the Salve Popular (popular worship), accompanied by all the musical bands playing the national hymn.