Don’t you just love when you are traveling somewhere and you happen upon some local celebration or festival that you didn’t know was going to occur? And don’t you just love that you arrived just in time to learn about it, observe it, and participate in it? That’s what happened to me on my 420th mile of my 482-mile Camino de Santiago journey across northern Spain.
The town was Sarria, and I was just arriving after walking a 9-mile day, climbing the 62 stairs that lead up to the main street. I was on my way to find my accommodations for the night when I was stopped in my tracks, literally, by some beautiful ground coverings. I didn’t want to step on such lovely creations.
From a previous experience many, many years ago in Italy, I actually knew what just stopped me in my tracks – floral carpets. Elaborate designs on the ground made of flower petals and plants. At the moment though, I didn’t know the occasion yet.
I ventured on, carefully walking next to the floral carpets, not on them, to my accommodations so that I could ask what the celebration was. It was the Holy Day of Corpus Christi Festival, and in a few hours there would be a procession with music and people walking from the church down at one end of the street going up to the other end of the street to listen to some words from a priest.
If I had arrived the day before, I could have actually participated in the making of the floral carpets. But that didn’t matter. I was glad to be there, and to carefully walk up and down the street to take these photos before the procession started. Because once people started walking up the street, they would be walking on these lovely floral carpets.
I knew it was time for the procession to start when the church bells began to ring. I wandered back down the street near the church. The drums of the band began rolling. The priest, nicely dressed men, and elegantly dressed women wearing mantillas (lace headdress) started to walk up the street past me. They were followed by the band that had now joined in playing along with the drums and the continued ringing church bells. Soon everyone standing around watching got in line behind the procession, and started walking up the street. Including me. At the other end, we listened to the priest who was speaking in Spanish. The music started again, and everyone walked back down towards the church.
I just love when I happen upon a festival that I didn’t know was going to occur, and arrive just in time. And I especially loved seeing the beauty of the floral carpets of the Corpus Christi Festival in Sarria during my Camino de Santiago walk.
For more blogs about my 502-mile, 47-day journey across northern Spain and up the Atlantic Coast, please visit my Camino de Santiago category.