Roman soldiers hang up their uniforms

* The authors are part of the community of La Vanguardia readers.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
31 March 2024 Sunday 23:04
9 Reads
Roman soldiers hang up their uniforms

* The authors are part of the community of La Vanguardia readers

In the Photos of the Readers of La Vanguardia we can see images of the prominence that, for yet another Holy Week, the Roman soldiers have had in the processions in Girona. They are the well-known manaies, who are now hanging up their uniform again until their next campaign.

The manaies are the Roman soldiers who traditionally parade during Holy Week in some towns and cities in Catalonia, such as, in this case, Girona. In some places, such as Badalona or Besalú, they are also called estaferms.

The first reliable documentary data about the existence of the manaies in Girona dates back to 1751, according to the Confradia de Jesús Crucificat.

At that time, four manaies guarded "the mystery" of the Holy Sepulcher in the Carme church throughout Holy Thursday and also opened the procession.

Since then, the manaies participate, leading them, in the processions of Holy Week in Girona: that of Holy Thursday (organized by the Royal Brotherhood of the Purísima Sangre, founded in Girona in 1568) and that of Good Friday (organized by the Arch-brotherhood of the Passion and Death, founded in 1684). Before, between the 18th and 19th centuries, these soldiers were not part of an exclusive brotherhood.

The condition of manaia became hereditary and was passed from parents to children. Over time, many of the manaies ended up coming from the Sant Daniel Valley, near Girona.

Little by little, the equipment of these Holy Week soldiers was improved: brass cuirasses, expansion of the band, creation of two and then three optiadas and creation of the equitas section with a staff of 119 troops, explains the Confradia de Jesus Crucified. The manaies have overcome the difficulties of the years and have survived to this day as one of the great attractions of the Holy Week processions in Girona.

Currently, the Confradia de Jesús Crucificat, which brings together around 900 confraternities, makes the Manaies and their heritage known. From 1956, the Cofradía de Jesús Crucificado-Manaies de Girona is also responsible for the annual organization of the Parade of Kings.