Archive for May, 2010

The Dance of Death in Verges

Verges: Dansa de la mort 2009 093 por dantzan.

130 kilometres north of Barcelona lies the small town of Verges.  Every Maundy Thursday Verges still “celebrates” the medieval European tradition of the Dansa de La Mort or “Dance of Death”. The macabre nocturnal display features five agile dancers who dance around the crowds in luminescent skeleton costumes. This is the last vestige of a once common spectacle throughout Europe. Above image by dantzen on flickr.

The origin of the dances of death lie in:

The deathly horrors of the 14th century—such as recurring famines; the Hundred Years’ War in France; and, most of all, the Black Death—were culturally assimilated throughout Europe. The omnipresent possibility of sudden and painful death increased the religious desire for penitence, but it also evoked a hysterical desire for amusement while still possible; a last dance as cold comfort. Wikipedia

Francis Barrett elsewhere on iberianature notes:

Verges, with remains of medieval walls and towers, is famous for its macabre Holy Week procession of very distinctive pagan origin, la Dansa del Mort, the dance of the dead. This is performed each Easter Thursday at the end of a long and rather tedious Passion Play, but, as the village bars remain impiously open all evening, is nevertheless well worth seeing.

Francis also notes:

The murmuring crowds lining the unilluminated medieval laneways fall silent at the approach of the torchlit crucifixion procession, led by skeletal figures advancing in a series of jerky stacatto rotations roughly choreographed to a hair-raising semi-irregular single drumbeat – by far the most disturbing aspect of the event.

Around the web

Also on iberianature

Cabo de Peñas – the northernmost point of Asturias

Al norte del norte por batiskafo.

Cabo de Peñas in Asturias is the second most northern point in Spain. A well marked trail runs along the rugged coast. The photo is by batiskafo on Flickr.

In the heart of the Picos

Peña Maín por batiskafo.

Photo of the imposing Picos de Europa showing Peña Maín in the centre and my favourite (though not to climb) Naranjo de Bulnes to the left. The photo is by batiskafo on Flickr.

Route up Peña Maín here “From the summit of Peña Main there are spectacular views of the whole of the central massif. This is a lovely route taking you over the Peña Main range and through the farming pastures above Tielve. Care is needed as the paths are not well defined in the higher section of this walk.”