Wandering Jews

Wandering Jews

No, not the plant that thrives in my courtyard, but unknown folks at the Crucifixion that continue to influence processions and fiestas in San Miguel.

The most infamous is featured around town as St. Veronica.  It reality she was an unknown woman who, upon witnessing Jesus’ suffering took it upon herself to defy the crowd and wipe his face with her veil providing him momentarily relief.  Her veil is now infamously remembered for having Christ’s facial image placed upon it.  The name Veronica means true image in honor of Jesus’ image on her veil and was used to identify this unknown and brave woman.

Unlike another group of folks ranging in age from teens to elderly that also viewed the Crucifixion of an unknown, to them, man.  Unlike Veronica they did nothing but watch.  Legend states that their punishment is to spend the rest of eternity appearing at events of sudden and painful deaths knowing impending doom (natural disaster to a modern day school shooting) that they, again, do nothing to prevent.  Thus they spend eternity reliving their error unlike Veronica who is honored for her bravery.

The do nothing folks are often considered a variation on the legend of the Wandering Jew popular in the Middle Ages. The Wandering Jew is an immortal man condemned to spend eternity in constant motion for having slapped Jesus on his way to the Crucifixion for taking a moment of rest.  Other stories describe him as having been a doorman at Pontius Pilate’s estate that taunted Jesus during his time of despair telling him, basically, to move along.  “Oh, I’ll keep moving” was Jesus reported reply “and receive my rest later today.  You, however, will never stop wandering.”

It adds to your experience to know who all the folks are featured in processions and fiestas as often those not as visible as St. Veronica can be equally interesting.