Thursday, May 27, 2010

baby's first biretta...



Flickr album source.

16 comments:

Tim said...

Reminds me of Semana Santa in Avila. I was lucky enough to travel there twice with my son who was in the Archdiocesan Boy Choir of Philadelphia when they sang there. I highly recommend spending Holy Week in Spain at least once (preferably before all of Europe goes to hell).

Rick said...

The child gives away the identity of the parent in this case, so might as well give the boy a Mickey Mouse mask or something.

PaxetBonum said...

Nice hoods, in a creepy, medieval sort of way. Can anyone explain this ritual and its provenance, and the purpose and origin of the distinctive headgear? And why place a biretta, associated with the priesthood, on the head of a child?

Mark Scott Abeln said...

These are penitents. Back in the old days, people were sorry for their sins, and embarrassed by them. They covered their faces in shame. Nowadays, people loudly proclaim their sins as something good.

Funny thing. People are encouraged to be free from ancient moral codes, and yet we have a severe law-enforcement system that quickly punishes transgressors. Sounds like social darwinism to me.

Smiley said...

thought it was a KKK meeting

Fr. Christian Mathis said...

There is a similar holy week celebration in Antigua, Guatemala. Second only to Spain. We took a group of kids from the high school one year when I was serving as spiritual director. pretty amazing stuff.

The Young Catholic said...

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TCN said...

Ah, Antigua. What a beautiful place. My son is from Coban, and we adopted him in Guat City, but Antigua is still my fav. Steeped in Catholic history, including a 15th Century monastery-turned-luxury-hotel, a church every two blocks, and the most amazing Independence Day party in the City Square. And Mass takes about 2 hours. Ah, Antigua.

Anthony S. "Tony" Layne said...

From Catholic Eye Candy:


A common feature in Spain is the almost general usage of the nazareno or penitential robe for some of the participants in the processions. This garment consists in a tunic, a hood with conical tip (capirote) used to conceal the face of the wearer, and sometimes a cloak. The exact colors and forms of these robes depend on the particular procession. The robes were widely used in the medieval period for penitents, who could demonstrate their penance while still masking their identity.These nazarenos carry processional candles or rough-hewn wooden crosses, may walk the city streets barefoot, and, in some places may carry shackles and chains on their feet as penance.

You can find another picture here.

PaxetBonum said...

Mark/Tony- Thx for the backround info.

Wasn't public penance suppressed as an approved rite or procedure of the Church during the Middle Ages? If so, are these modern day *nazarenos* performing actual penance imposed during sacramental confession by special permission, or re-enacting a regional historical/cultural ritual? And any ideas about the biretta on the baby?

Anthony S. "Tony" Layne said...

From what I understand, what was suppressed in the Middle Ages was the public performance of the Sacrament of Reconciliation because it led to some abuses and public scandals. Penitential processions such as performed by the nazarenos are in the nature of voluntary acts of atonement, and are still licit as far as I can tell. I don't know if the Spanish bishops attach any indulgences to participation.

It's mostly cultural in nature; you'll find it practiced in many Spanish-speaking countries, especially during Holy Week. I know in this most recent flare-up of the sex-abuse scandals, some people were suggesting a Church-wide form of public penitential rite, which still strikes me as a good idea. But, as I've said before, it'll be a looooong time before anyone can wear the nazarenos' garb over here!

Anthony S. "Tony" Layne said...

Oh, as for the biretta ... don't know; perhaps it comes from concerns about frightening or smothering the child? Or a pious desire that he grow up to be a priest?

Anneg said...

In Antigua the penitentes or caperuchos carry andas or huge floats. Made of mahogany, they weigh a ton or more and bear a saint's statue, scene from the crucifixion or the Virgen. You can see some good pictures here http://www.robertleon.com/gallery/photographs-2.htm
They are better than my pictures. We lived in Guate for 8 years and even without tourists these processions go on. During the war some of the hoods were changed to show the penitentes' faces. The type of dress depends on the fraternidad that each belongs to. Guate adapted the customs from the Spanish according to local tastes. The picture is definitely from Spain. And, please note the Chi Rho on the hood inscribed over the M. Never see that on the clan.

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The Buffalo said...

Happy Memorial Day

http://stglassbflo.blogspot.com/2010/05/for-cat.html

Smiley said...

NO Molto monday :(
We cant be blaming Mr Volcano can we?