Archive for March 21st, 2008
Passion on the streets of Adeje

Contrary to popular belief, Easter isn’t just about The Great Escape, never ending Bond movies and chocolate eggs. Here in Tenerife there are strong visual reminders with performances of The Passion, the last hours of Christ. One of the biggest and most praised took place this morning in the main street of Adeje town, a few miles inland from Playa de las Americas.

It all started at noon as a cast of 100’s gathered at the top of the street, dressed as Roman centurions, the Roman emperor, the disciples and the followers of Jesus. You couldn’t ask for a better setting, the lampposts and balconies draped with red sashes, the palm trees lining the pavement as it twists it’s way down to the main square and crowds packed on both sides of the road.

The Last Supper

First off were the centurions, on foot and horseback, heralding the emperor and his wife carried in luxurious splendour. The followers, in sandals, kept their composure despite a few hazards left behind by the horses. There was a series of tableaus set up down the street that staged key scenes, starting with The Last Supper. The key players were all wired with microphones and their interaction and strident music was relayed over P.A systems all down the road to add to the spectacle.

Lifting the cross

As the crowds pressed for better vantage points, the greatest story ever told, unfolded, the court scene raised the tension as Jesus was sentenced to crucifiction. The guards seized and stripped him nefore whipping him. As disciples and supporters wailed and protested, Jesus was forced to take up his cross and march it down the road to the plaza. On the crossOnce there, he was held down as the nails were hammered in and the cross was raised high, watched in sombre silence by the crowd as television cameras relayed the scene to a giant screen and fed a live Canarian TV broadcast. Jesus’s cries of forgiveness from the cross  brought tears from many of the enthralled crowd, before his moment of death and the cutting down of the body.

If that sounds dramatic, it’s a real understatement, the whole thing was expertly staged and performed and even a cynical old git like me was moved by it all. If you look carefully at these photos you will see that the actor playing Jesus had just a small wedge of wood on the cross to press one foot against to support his weight, the hands hanging limp within the ropes, any slip during his lengthy stint on the cross could have been very painful.

The whole 2 hours was a real tour de force and other similar enactments were taking place across the island, a real show of faith and commitment.