Monday, April 27, 2009

Xempeachem Prusanv

Yeah, that's right! Pronounce THAT!

Well, it seems like the "arrastre de las caudas" got some competition...

Every year on Good Friday, the cathedral canons of Se Cathedral in Goa celebrate the "procession of tails" or Xempdeanchem Pursanv (I don't even know if this is the correct spelling. I also found Xempdeanchem Pursanv, Xeppdeanchem Pursanv, Xepdeanchem Pursao...). Anyways, here is a description from the "Times of India" of what you see in the photos:
    Although it doesn't match the popularity of the Procession of Saints at Goa Velha, the unique Good Friday ceremony popularly known as Xempeachem Pursanv or Procession of Tails brings in the religious from the Tiswadi villages of central Goa.

    Sources say this Good Friday practice may have started any time after February 4, 1557, when the Chapter of the Cathedral was established during the Portuguese era.

    The procession starts after the archbishop's blessing to the rattling sound of wooden clappers, instead of the more cheerful bells.

    From a corner near the main altar, the canons in black capes set forth. As the choir sings motets or penitential hymns, the faithful line up on either side as the procession winds it way past the four corners of the Cathedral.

    Leading the way are the confrades with a cross, then come the altar boys, then the canons, and finally the Archbishop brings up the rear.

    The solemn procession is a commemoration of the sufferings and death of Christ.

    This is the Day of Canons, senior priests with a long and noteworthy record appointed by the Church. They have a prominent role in the ceremonies on Good Friday.

    There are 10 canons but only four participated in the procession, as the others are too infirm, sources say. What is arresting is the black dress or capuso that trails on the floor like a bridal gown.

    Only the canons' faces remain visible below the hood. The procession moves slowly as the people jostle to kiss the shroud on the cross or the feet of Christ in the coffin' carried by pall bearers.

    The procession culminates near the tomb at one of the many altars of the Cathedral. The coffin is placed at the foot of a wooden cross. After a final prayer, the Archbishop kisses the feet of Christ and the others follow.
So much for the description. Here are the photos:


Anonymous said...

There's no real competition. The one from Ecuador seems more much solemn and their cappae are much longer and look better.

leo said...

You're right.

As far as eye-candiness and solemnity go, this stuff got nothing on the arrastre de las caudas (esp. when you see the combination of cappa and sandals in #7. What's up with that?).

However, in the discipline of unusual, ancient and cappa-related events from the Holy Week, this still counts as competition (although chances of grabbing the gold medal are slim at best).