Cofradía Oración del Huerto - Torrevieja

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Los CostalerosThis year, Semana Santa 2008, will be the fourth time that the unique "International Costaleros" will participate in Torrevieja"s Easter processions. All of us hope that the weather will be kind to us and that the procession will not be cancelled, as last year, due to the rain. Many of our "original" costaleros" will participate once again, but we shall also welcome new members due to necessary replacements. We have lost ..... members due to their passing on and others through the aches and pains of "ano domini"! Whilst we shall miss their company carrying the "paso", they will continue to remain as part of our international "family", the camaraderie and special friendships made will continue. Two of our original members are now over 80 years of age and will still be there with us proudly carrying the 1,500 kgs "paso"!

Each Easter now becomes a new experience, a new time for learning for these 100 non-Spanish, many non-Catholic christians, a time when we experience new feelings. Early on, we were reminded that cosmopolitan Torrevieja itself really does, as it always traditionally has, warmly welcome those from other parts. The very fact that we "international residents" were invited to participate in the first place underlines this fact. We at once learnt that we too have a place in Torrevieja tradition, that we are wanted, needed, that we have now become an integral part of Torrevieja itself. Our experiences and our individual feelings in having also been invited, as costaleros, to share in the "Via Cruces" procession or that of the "Virgen del Carmen" celebration last July, have remained with us, each costalero going away with his own, unique and special personal feelings.

Los CostalerosHowever, certain feelings which are shared by each one of us in common are those feelings of pride and unity. Pride in our participation and a special feeling of unity amongst every one of our members as well as the members of other cofradias. Last Easter especially, this feeling of unity and belonging was underlined by the "special" relationship we were able to build, through the circumstances at the time, with our colleague-costaleros of the "Last Supper". One "practice night" they asked if we could "give a hand" with the carrying of their "paso" during its dedication (bendición). Whilst they might have felt that they were asking a "favour", the feeling amongst the "international costaleros" was, yet again, one of pride and honour that we should have been invited in the first place! For us, the event turned out to be yet another special moment which is shared by this unique "brotherhood" to which we now belong! Later, on the Easter Monday and through the streets of our adopted town, we followed our newly-made friends from the "Last Supper" during the procession. However, none of us could possibly have imagined the wonderful reception which was waiting for us when we arrived back, tired and releived but happy, at the church of the "Inmaculada Concepción". As we turned the last corner into Calle Bazan, the 100 costaleros, to a man" of the "Last Supper" stood in their spectacular uniforms as a "guard of honour" to receive us with their genuine applause. It was amongst the most emotional sights that many of us have ever come across and even now, the vision which remains in our memories, is one which makes the hairs on the back of the hand stand on end!

For us, as non Spaniards, the whole concept of such spectacular demonstrations of faith at this very special time of year, is a new one. It is one which comparitively few people will ever be able to experience. It is a mixture of feelings and emotions such as pride, friendship, unity, honour, a special belonging, a desire to maintain and be part of the traditions of our new home town, a demonstration of the faith we share albeit from distinct branches of the Christian church. And at the very centre of all of these special, wonderful feelings and emotions is the person who died for us almost 2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ.

Graham Knight.
Capataz / Padrino – Cofradia de Nuestro Señor Jesus en la Oración el el Huerto de los Olivos.

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