Toledo has this one big annual event, called The Feast of Corpus Christi, locally referred to as “The Corpus”. It happens every year at the end of May, and it’s been going since the 13th century, apparently. Or the 15th, they aren’t quite sure. People from all over pile into Toledo to gawp at the proceedings.
The official description of the event reads like this: “A solemn procession which takes place in an atmosphere of singing, the aroma of herbs, and spiritual fervour”.
This year, I had the opportunity to watch the entire shebang from the privileged vantage point of a balcony above one of the streets through which it passes.
The spectacle entails several sets of sweaty blokes lugging around church furniture, interspersed by incense wielding priests and packs of people in fancy dress. Each and every one of Toledo’s professional, religious, musical, academic and military institutions sends a handful of its prime specimens, decked out in their respective costumes and uniforms.
The whole thing moves in the most ponderous pace imaginable, stopping and starting, I presume, on account of having to traverse streets that are just about wide enough for a horned bull to scrape through. The streets are positively thronging with onlookers, leaving the entire town centre gridlocked for hours.
I have to tell you that I am truly baffled by the popularity of this plodding parade…I have yet to meet a Spanish person under 60 displaying any degree of religious zeal. Other Spanish towns have fun events, where people get gored by wild animals or have overripe tomatoes smashed into their boozed-up visages. But this…?!
Oh well. I probably shouldn’t go around pooping on other people’s parties, so I’ll just finish this off by saying that the streets and buildings do look quite pretty donning their Corpus decorations. Here are a couple of pics my brother took in June 2012:
Well, yes, it’s fine for the tourists who don’t have to be anywhere at a certain time, but I imagine when you need to be somewhere and the whole town is gridlocked… not so good! Maybe you need to ride a horned bull round town on those days….
Well, I was trapped for three hours…! But I’d been warned that this would happen, and we had plenty drinks and snacks up on that balcony, lol.