IT’S the annual Cristo festival, traditionally held a fortnight before Good Friday. Jesus and his mother are escorted from the Church of Our Lady of Expectation into the warm evening sunshine. In preparation, evil spirits are banished to ensure their passage will not be hindered. In the old days, the population of the Alpujarran town of Orgiva would bang pots and pans to drive out malevolence. Nowadays, 455 kilograms of gunpowder is used. That’s nearly half a tonne of high explosives in the form of thousands of fireworks. It’s extremely effective . . .
The Holy Christ of Expiration and the Virgin of Sorrows are carried through the streets, commencing their tour at 6pm, escorted by the Legión Española and Guardia Civil. We watch as sorrow and love flow mingled down while the legionnaires entertain the crowds with gun displays. We watch some more, share a pizza with friends, and head for home at 11pm. Jesus and Mary are still touring the town and the fireworks exploding well into the early hours. It’s a long night. But when you’re confined to a church for most of the year, I suppose all the nights are long.