Friday, 25 March 2016

Easter: Parade

An actor who has played Jesus in traditional Spanish Easter parades for 30 years claims he has been banned from the role because he is gay.

Ramón Fossati was told he could not take part in this Sunday’s parade or any others until 2019 because he exposed a naked shoulder last year and waved his arms in an “ostentatious” manner.

The Junta Mayor de la Semana Santa Marinera, which governs the brotherhoods that stage the parades in Valencia, accused Mr Fossati of “ostentation and parody” because he appeared to bless the crowd. He denied this, insisting he was just raising his arms to acknowledge bystanders.

Easter processions in Spain are governed by strict rules which prevent too much flesh being exposed or any inappropriate religious gestures. Women have been fined for showing their cleavage or wearing dresses above the knee and are generally asked to wear heavy black dresses and a headdress called a mantilla to the parades.

Mr Fossati was fined €300 after last year’s Easter Sunday parade. After he appealed, the fine was reduced to €60 but he was banned for four years by his own brotherhood, Santísimo Cristo del Salvador. “I was not given any reason for the ban,” Mr Fossati said.

“It could be jealousy. Or maybe it was punishment for being gay. But everyone where I live knows my sexual orientation and it is not an issue. I am deeply religious and this is the worst thing that could happen.”

He said that his costume last year had been modelled on traditional religious paintings of Christ and although it originally showed off both his shoulders he had got it altered to show only one in case it was considered too risqué.

The Junta [!] and the brotherhood both declined to comment.

Fagburn urges all good Christians to celebrate Easter by getting themselves nailed to a cross, like this plucky Filipino dude pictured above.

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