JUMILLA’S EASTER HISTORY
The Jumilla’s Easter, declared of National Turistic Interest from the 26th November 2003 and Golden Medal of the Murcia’s Region, awarded on the 9th June 2000. First and main festivity of the ones celebrated in Jumilla, by its artistic richness, colour, devotion, enthusiasm and tradition of almost six centuries of processions that support it.
We have documented that on the 18th April 1411, the Saint Dominico preached in Jumilla. After the preaching of the Valencian Saint San Vicente Ferrer, born in Ferrara in 1452, in his evangelization campaign that was developing through multitude of towns, with a big religious and social repercussion. It begins at the Jumilla’s villa, the custom of commemorating the processions, relying on the pillar of sermons by Saint Vicente. The first result was the founding of the Confraternity Nuestra Señora del Rosario, that would be the manager for organising and founding the Holy Thursday Penitential Procession, in the evening, which would go over the twisted streets of the small villa of Jumilla, that still lived at the shelter of its Castle’s walls.
In 1511 it already allocates money, for town council’s part, for the celebration of the Holy Thursday Procession. It also begins the celebrations by Franciscans and Dominicos, mainly around the churches. In 1521, previous date to the installation in Jumilla of the Franciscan Order, it already celebrates the Palms’ Sunday and the palms’ benediction. In 1578 already exists in Jumilla the Confraternity Santo Nombre de Jesús and in 1609 the Padre Lobo, franciscan from the Convent of the Llagas of San Francisco, founds the Brotherhood of La Vera Cruz (currently being the most ancient of the ones which march in the Jumilla’s Easter Week), with the involvement of ‘Empalados’, ‘Engrillados’ and ‘Penitentes’ or ‘Disciplinantes’. In the processions’ beginning took part the town neighbours, the clergy and authorities, until in 17th century begin participating en masse the nazarenes or brothers, as illustrative datum reflects than in 1641 the Confraternity El Rosario was in the charge of the organization of the Holy Thursday procession and it had 540 brothers, a very important number if we keep in mind the population of Jumilla in those years. In 1643 tells how seems to him the image of the Virgin, the procession’s standard and the Confraternity’s banner. Nazarenes wore with great brightness their tunics, although in the start, the organization of confraternities were dedicated to promote the worship of their principals, nevertheless they also participated in other religious activities. In 1644 we already have datum of music accompaniment in the Holy Thursday procession.
Easter enters in a decline period from the middle of the 18th century until the middle of the following. But from 1848 is when the Jumilla’s Easter takes a new boost, new brotherhoods are founded and walking nearby the Vera Cruz y Santo Sepulcro, being the most ancient brotherhood of the current Easter of Jumilla. Among the founded brotherhoods at the 19th century are the Jesús Nazareno, the Cristo de la Columna, the Armaos, San Juan y la Soledad, integrating by the end of the century the brotherhoods of Cristo de la Salud, La Verónica and La Magdalena. Inside the 19th century see the light also in Jumilla several brotherhoods more, as San Pedro and La Virgen de las Angustias. In that same year is when, for the first time, it is taken down the carving by Francisco Salzillo, the Cristo Amarrado a la Columna, which is transfered to Jumilla in pilgrimage for participating in the Easter’s processions. Descent that is effected every Palms’ Sunday, from the Santa Ana’s Monastery to Jumilla, distant to 7km from town and it goes up again in pilgrimage every second Sunday of May.
Almost every day on this Week, in addition to the processions, it occurs something significant, from the public representation of the Jesus’ Capture, a popular sacred play that dates from the ending of the 19th century and that is dramatised on Holy Wednesday on the traditional Arriba Square, the proclamations and the transfers of thrones and images from their churches of origin to the point from where will start the processional march.
The 40’s years were decisive for the definitive recovery of the Easter Week, after the national battle that left devastated our Great Week, since a lot of brotherhoods and confraternities remained undone, with the destruction of their main images, with what we lost a rich heritage of gouges so important as Salzillo, Roque López, Pinzaro, Artos Tizón, Sánchez Araciel, Ignacio Vergara, etc.
The Jumilla’s Easter Week comes back once again to the streets in 1940, with an incredible effort by Brotherhoods’ part, entrepreneurs and the town council that establish a Festivities Permanent Commission in 1941 including the own Mayor, the two parish priests from churches and brotherhoods’ presidents, entrepreneurs, teachers, writers and lovers of our Easter Week, that enriches again with the best carvings by the main national sculptors of the middle of the 20th century and everything that could be recovered from previous centuries
The celebrations week starts on the Sorrows’ Friday with the amazing Via Crucis for what the streets turn into big showcases with the Easter Week images; altars skillfully built and popular sense and images for being contemplated from a different way as they will be seen when they are upon the pasos.
The Jumilla’s processions start on the Palms’ Sunday, with the Palms’ Procession, in which is represented the entrance to Jerusalem of Jesus and his Apostles carrying palm and olive leaves and that we have proof of its celebración since 1521.
On Easter Tuesday, it is celebrated the Silence’s Procession, where the Most Holy Cristo de la Vida and the Virgen de la Esperanza go across the streets in a silence only broken by the drum’s hits.
On Easter Wednesday and Easter Thursday it is respectively celebrated the Jesus Prendido Procession (19th century), and the Amargura Procession (15th century). It has to emphasize the Easter Thursday afternoon, when the different brotherhoods, with their standards and music bands, go through for visiting the sacred monuments placed in churches and chapels. Women with the traditional ‘teja’ and ‘mantilla’, and men with their brotherhood’s tunic. On Good Friday morning it is celebrated the Calvario Procession (17th century), and in the evening the Santo Entierro Procession (17th century), in which they are seen many barefoot after the images, in their majority carried at shoulders and a lot of burning candles with their lights trembling in the darkness.
We arrived at last on the Resurrection Sunday with the Jesús Resucitado Procession, after its end it comes the ‘Desfile’, in which is shared kilos of sweets with which is started a ‘caramelada’ between participants and spectators.