'Pitu Mosquits': “Together we move on; alone we go nowhere”

'Pitu Mosquits' / ©Rafael L—ópez-MonnéŽ

Last ascent to the Plaça del Rei; last effort for the selfless bearers of the Presa de Jesús. Shoulder to shoulder, soaked in sweat, almost breathless after three long hours of procession, Pitu Mosquits and his mates try to find strength out of weakness to deal with the one-and-a-half-tone sculpture uphill, the heaviest scene of all the ones lightning up the solemn nocturne retinue of Good Friday in Tarragona. Under Pitu’s order, 23 trained and convinced men, 23 self-sacrificing pals fall in step with the drums and applauses. “Just a little bit more, a tiny bit more!” one can hear loudly. It is not just by sweating one makes it to the square, though. At the point of exhaustion, there is a more powerful reason pushing the scenes upwards; all the bearers are anxiously willing to get relieved from the weight and embrace with each other; to celebrate, some with tearful eyes, that they all together, yes, together they have made it.

Pitu, the exhausted manager of the “Associació del Pas de la Presa de Jesús”, has promised something he knows is unable to achieve. Being a man from the Serrallo, he has spent half his life plowing the waves. He got enrolled at the age of 13, and has just given up fishing being 62. The boat has determined the course of his life. Just a few things though, apart from the family, have managed to give better meaning to his life than those moments of honest and uncontrolled celebration, already being enjoyed for about twenty years, together with his mates once the is over. “I’m starting to feel a bit too old to walk under the scene, and year after year I keep telling my wife this will be the last one… But I can’t refuse it. Carrying the scene requires coordination and solidarity. These are the very same values needed in castells, or in the sea. When carrying a scene we are a family. Together we move on; alone we go nowhere”, says Pitu.

Every Good Friday, tradition and devotion guide the steps of 5.000 people around the streets of the Part Alta. The “Sant Enterrament” Procession, which is being held since 1550, is the climax to Easter in Tarragona. This massive event, restrained and painful, very far from other religious celebration’s structures also held those days, is as some say, the most characteristic procession in Catalonia, despite its ups and downs throughout history. In fact, the retinue bottomed out a few years ago due to a lack of audience; a tendency that radically changed when it was finally unbanned to women, in 1983, and it was added new participant generations.

In the same way as other festive expressions in the city –such as Santa Tecla–, the “Sant Enterrament” Procession has revived thanks to its popular nature. The impassioned activism of the 11 brotherhoods and siblinghoods of the city, counting on the participation of 12.000 members, has brought back, not just the appeal to many people, but also all the brightness to such a heartfelt and solemn traditional event, a brand of the city, which belongs to the inner identity of the Tarragona citizens. The crawling sunset, the monumental sceneries, the bearer’s delivery, the sober solemnity of the retinue… transmit an intense emotion to the crowd that gathers around year after year between the Rambla and the Part Alta. Beyond the spiritual dimension of the procession, every single year about 50.000 people witness this spectacle in Tarragona.

By Oriol Margalef
Translated by Artur Santos
Photograph Rafael López-Monné