Black Saturdays in Burauen
Black Saturdays in the quiet, predominantly Catholic town of Burauen is heralded a couple of hours before dawn by a procession around the town of a multitude of barefoot parishioners.
Nobody is being genuinely nailed to the cross. A tableau vivant is staged for each of the procession’s fourteen stops in designated areas of the town depicting the fourteen stations of the cross – from the Last Supper, to Jesus’ scourging, crucifixion, death and to his resurrection. It’s commonly known among Roman Catholics as the Stations of the Cross.
Passages from the bible concerning the portrayed station are read for each stop. As the devotees kneel down and fall silent, they begin to reflect and meditate. The cycle goes on until the fourteenth station. The crowd walks on during intervals while the rosary is prayed and songs about the passion of Christ are sung.
By 7 in the morning, the procession reaches almost every corner of the poblacion and goes back to the church for the final station.
Sacrifice? Perhaps. But it’s more of a rejuvenating activity for me. Walking barefooted early in the morning before the sun is up, and then eventually being kissed by the gentle rays of the rising sun, is naturally favorable for the physical health. To such an extent is kneeling down for several times during the procession. Add the reflections which I think are good for the emotional and spiritual health, the procession leaves you hopeful, thinking somehow, that after that 3-hour long barefoot journey, something positive will come out of it.