We are doing a reconnaissance of the first section of the Via de la Plata. Many people think that the word in this name — plata– refers to the silver from nearby mines but these mines did not open until after the term “Via de la Plata” was in use. The word “Plata” was the Arabic word for “Road” — and we will be walking on that Roman road.
It is Palm Sunday and the parades are forming — the first day of Holy Week is celebrated with parades of penitents (who wear special cloths — capriotes –which hide their identity). The penitents are organized within “Brotherhoods” (which include women).
I read Chapter 28 of the Tao te Ching.
“Know the male,
yet keep to the female:
receive the world in your arms.
If you receive the world,
the Tao will never leave you
and you will be like a little child.”
We walk on the Via de la Plata and see some penitents wearing the capriote. The penitents are called “Nazarenes.” They repenting anonymously — and their capriotes gave the American KKK their idea for a costume.
The yellow arrows indicate the way.
The most important turn is at the Burger King — turn left and walk past it so that you will reach the bridge.
We see another Nazareno — each Brotherhood comes from a particular neighborhood and each has unique floats that are part of the procession. The floats are called “pasos” and pertain to either Jesus (and a specific part of the Crucifixion story) or Mother Mary. The Nazarenos carry huge candles when they march.
“Know the white,
yet keep to the black:
be a pattern for the world.”
“If you are a pattern for the world,
the Tao will be strong inside you
and there will be nothing you can’t do.”
The floats/pasos are carried by many men who are under it — it is a weight lifting feat. They must walk in step and practice together before Holy Week.
“Know the personal,
yet keep to the impersonal:
accept the world as it is.”
“If you accept the world,
the Tao will be luminous inside you
and you will return to your primal self.”
“The world is formed from the void,
like utensils from a block of wood.”
“The Master knows the utensils,
yet keeps to the the block:
thus she can use all things.”
Another way to repent.
The next day, we pass a church which stores two floats/pasos.
We are ready to begin our pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostelo.