This Monday, in the streets of the white city of Popayán, the first procession of the cycle that has been held for centuries in pursuit of a tradition perhaps much more Andalusian than Spanish will be held.
It is the Holy Monday Procession or the People’s Procession as the nearly disappeared aristocratic hidalgos from Popayan called it when they kept it prohibited for decades.
Until a few years ago, when the architect Luis Eduardo Ayerbe, the one who maintains the incredible Museo de la Casa de los Arboleda, decided to reorganize it, get the litter and the images to set up the steps and confront the newly minted political oligarchs, and of course to the archbishop on duty and the so-called Holy Week Board, which still pretends to believe that this traditional week is no longer a tourist patrimony for all of Colombia, but only for the freighters and smokers that from generation to generation have been inheriting the right or the happiness of being able to carry a saint or to go out parading in the procession.
Of course, Popayán holds its biggest week every year with more and different concerns. The stigma of the eternal battle between noble whites and Indians is neither erased nor discussed nor made digestible.
The guerrilla and narco gangs replaced the indigenous submission and the dedicatory attitude of four or five milkers with the age-old prestige of their surnames.
Not even a book like the one recently published by regional leader Francisco Gembuel, forcefully and dramatically questioning the regime of such indigenous justice, and which has him still paying for the years of exile to which he was sentenced for sidewalk gossip. ,but it exonerated the Farc and the ELN of the evident responsibility in the crime of the mayor of Jambaló 30 years ago, and it miserably sentenced him, it has removed the expired structures so that they can be discussed publicly.
Only the procession on Holy Monday comes out as the People’s Procession, enclosing a symbolic deaf protest that grows over the years. But that’s Popayán.