I thought I knew about parades. As an American, I had seen many Fourth of July parades. And living in Chicagoland, an area chock full of Irish people, I had seen many a St. Patrick’s Day parade. Chicago turns its river green in honor of this event. But nothing I have ever seen in the United States compares to the Easter parade I saw in Lorca this Maundy Thursday. This city of almost 500,000 people really knows how to put on a parade! Once you have seen it, you can’t really compare it to anything else. It’s like going to Disneyland or Disneyworld and then visiting a regular amusement park. Nothing can really compare.
Lorca is the third largest city in the southeastern Spanish provence of Murcia. The two largest cities are Cartagena, and the capital, Murcia. The Lorca parade combines amazing floats that tell historical tales from the old and new testament with horse-drawn chariots that race down the parade route. Here is one of the horse-drawn chariots. Look how fancy the driver’s cape is! Supposedly the thread used in the capes is actually made of gold.
Two rival brotherhoods (Paso blanca and Paso azul), compete to have the best biblical parade. The parade we saw started with the blue brotherhood, with people waving blue bandanas to cheer their people on the victory. “Viva azul,” people would shout. Then when the white brotherhood presented their parade, people waved white handerchiefs and yelled, “Viva blanca” and “Guapa,” meaning beautiful in Spanish.
Besides horse-drawn chariots and fancy floats, the parade also included impressive religious displays that required dozens of people underneath to carry the load. Both men and women dressed in the same colored religious garb to carry the display. This one below featuring Jesus Christ was especially impressive.
The parade also included many impressive displays of horsemanship. We saw dancing horses and many horses jumping up onto their hind legs, with their riders holding tightly to the reins. There were also many people clad in fancy costumes riding two, four or six-horses across, and racing down the street in their chariots.
Lastly, between the floats, chariots and horsemanship displays, there were many bands playing music. The use of drums and brass instruments seemed particularly favored.
If you ever get a chance to see this parade, which typically runs for four days during Semana Santa (holy week), weather permitting, I would highly encourage you to do so.