After the Civil War, some steps had been burned and there was no money to rebuild them, and the neighbors decided to make figures themselves
Among the hundreds of processions held in Catalan towns during Holy Week, there is one that stands out for its uniqueness. The procession of the Holy Mysteries of Campdevànol, in Ripollès, is the only one in the world in which the steps are alive, static, and silent.
While in other processions scenes of the passion of Jesus are represented, in that of Campdevànol the steps of the traditional figures are replaced with people.
An initiative of the neighbors due to lack of money
There is not much documentation about the oldest history of this tradition in the town, which, like many others, goes back centuries. But, according to festes.org, it is known that after the Civil War of 1936-1939, the procession began to take place with flesh and blood people because the steps had been burned.
Since there was no money to redo the lost monuments, the only way to represent the procession was to replace the figures on the steps with people, so the residents decided to turn themselves into statues to reproduce them.
This was the solution until 1963 when the procession was stopped in this way. Forty-two years later, in 2006, the procession of the Holy Mysteries once again recovered the living, static and silent steps, thanks to the Campdevànol Friends of the Procession Association.
The tradition has only recently had to be suspended for two years due to the pandemic.
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Good Friday Procession
Another year, this Good Friday, at half past nine in the evening, the procession left from the sports center to the church of Sant Cristòfol de Campdevànol.
During the approximately hour and a half or more than the tour lasted, the characters on the floats on the steps remained completely static.
About 250 people participate, most from the town and others from the surrounding area. The population receives more than 5,000 people following the procession.
“Garden of Gethsemani”, “L’eccehomo”, “The Way of calvary” and “The Descent of the Cross“ are the scenes that are reproduced on the static living steps, which go on top of floats driven by the neighbors.
The procession is complemented by the image of the Dolorosa, the Holy Sepulcher, also the Roman soldiers who lead it with a band of drums. Veronica, the Samaritan, Judas, the Three Marys, and the children with the expletives, among others, are on foot. In addition, the armed men go out on Maundy Thursday, to hand over the banner to the town authorities.
The association that organizes the procession has the support of other organizations in the town, such as the women’s association El Roser, which is in charge of sewing the costumes of the people who take part, as well as local artists and the City Council.