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San Vicente de la Sonsierra

THE FLAGELLANTS OF SAN VICENTE DE LA SONSIERRA , BETTER KNOWN AS “PICAOS”

It´s a national tourist event and it represents one of Spain´s most important and well known religious expressions. This is the last and only expression of the penitential rite, by means of flagellation, that remains in Spain where, until the 18th century, it was a relatively frequent practice in towns and cities.

The Flagellants go to de procession,  or at de Holy Hour, knell before the imagery that they have given the offering to and, when the stand up, the remove the cape from it shoulders and open the tunic around the back part. They grab the skein grip it with both hands, and while balancing it between their legs, they hit themselves on the back over their shoulders until the companion and the practitioner decide when it is time to be pricked. At that time, the practitioner will hit or lightly “prick” each side of the back three times, in the lumbar area, so that a little bit of blood appears in order to avoid future discomforts.

The utensil that is traditionally used to “prick” is called a “sponge” and consists of a ball of virgin wax with six embedded crystals in sets of two, so that each flagellant  gets twelve pricks. After the penance is finished, the flagellant washes and heals the other´s small wounds with rosemary water.

The dates on which they perform these acts with flagellants are the following:

  • Maundy Thursday, during de procession or the Lord´s Supper (19:30 h)
  • Maundy Thursday at the Holy Hour in the Parish of Saint Mary Major (23:00 h)
  • Good Friday, during the procession of de Vía Crucis  (11:30 h)
  • Good Frifay,  during de Procession of the Holy Burial (20:30 h)
  • May Cross, on May 3rd if it falls on a Sunday, otherwise the following Sunday. Vía Crucis  (18:00)
  • September Cross, on September 14th if falls on a Sunday otherwise the following Sunday. Vía Crucis (18:00)

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