I’m often asked about the Holy Week here in Spain. It’s truly one of the most extraordinarily Spanish cultural events one can witness. I don’t think there is anything quite like it anywhere else in Europe.
The Spanish take Holy Week very seriously, and the processions through the streets of the country’s towns and villages are rehearsed for months ahead.
Clearly the pious processions of ‘brotherhoods’ are led by the Catholic Church and have significant religious meaning. Yet, these Holy Week events attract support and curiosity form everyone in the community, irrespective of faith or belief, including the many thousands of visitors that come to Spain form around the world to witness the spectacles.
This year the Semana Santa dates are:
‘Viernes de Dolores’ Friday March 22, 2013
‘Sábado de Pasión’ Saturday March 23, 2013
'Domingo de Ramos’ Palm Sunday March 24, 2013
Lunes Santo’ Monday March 25, 2013
‘Martes Santo’ Tuesday March 26, 2013
‘Miércoles Santo’ Wednesday March 27, 2013
‘Jueves Santo’ Thursday March 28, 2013
‘Viernes Santo’ Friday March 29, 2013
‘Sábado de Gloria’ Saturday March 30, 2013
‘Domingo de la Resurrección’ Easter Sunday March 31, 2013
Easter Sunday is also known as Pascua in Spain, but almost everyone refers to Easter here as Semana Santa.
The processions are symbolic enactments of the Christian Easter story, told through extravagantly ornate ‘tronos’ or floats carried by members of Church brotherhoods, that support huge icons of the Virgin Mary, or of Christ. Most processions, in keeping with the story, are pious. The culture of the church telling the Easter story though street processions dates back hundreds of years.
For visitors to Malaga Province and the Costa del Sol, there are a number of events to witness.
Marbella has its own programme of events and so do the surrounding villages.
Malaga city is the most impressive – I recommend the website for the SUR newspaper – it’s in Spanish but easy to navigate.
Top right lists each day of Holy Week with the corresponding itinerary.
I also love the processions in the mountain villages. You can see pictures here on my blog.
Seville is probably the most famous city for Semana Santa. I will never forget the first time I stood waiting in the street for the procession, the smell of thick incense filling the air and my chest pulsing with the beat of the marching band, vibrating through the narrow streets.