One week every year during Easter the people are filling the streets, watching from their balconies, fanfares are marching through the streets. Semana Santa is a week full of processions and celebrations, which OnSpain School will make more understandable with this blog.
Semana Santa, or Holy week, is a spectacular celebration, which is celebrated in Spain. Nonetheless, in the provinces of Andalusia, which is in the south of Spain, Semana Santa is the most popular. Especially in Malaga and Seville.
The celebration of Semana Santa dates back to the period of the Catholic monarchs, and is still very popular amongst Spanish citizens and tourists nowadays. During this celebration the “tronos”, or floats, which are situated in the churches, are carried out by a large group of bearers. The people that form the procession are part of a brotherhood, which is also known as a “Cofradía” in Spanish. Besides that, “nazarenos” are walking together with the bearers that represent the penitents. In order to assure anonymity, the nazarenos wear costumes with pointy hats, which are called capirotes. Many people may think that the costumes have something to do with the Ku Klux Klan, but nothing could be further from the truth. As it is a tradition for over many years, the floats with the images of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Maria are carried through the streets to retell the story of Jesus Christ.
Semana Santa in Spain starts around the end of March or the beginning of April on a Sunday, which is one week before Easter. This festival will take 7 days until the next Sunday, when the celebration comes to a spectacular end.
Here you can find what the best is what Malaga has to offer each day during Semana Santa.
Domingo de Ramos
The first day of Semana Santa in Malaga will have 12 processions that march at different times and locations through the city. It is recommended to watch the procession of the “Pollinica”. This procession represents the day that Jesus arrives at Jerusalem while accompanied by a small donkey by his side.
On Holy Monday in Malaga, the first recommended procession is the Image of Jesús de la Columna, which guided by the brotherhood of “Los Gitanos”, or gipsies. They will be singing and dancing while following the image of Jesus. Another suggestion would be to watch the image of Jesús Coronado de Espinas, which is an image of Jesus wearing a crone made of thorns. This procession is lead by “Los Estudiantes”, or the students. Afterwards, another image tells the story tells that Jesus has supposedly been captured. The image of Jesus shows him dressed in white, with ropes cuffing his hands, which is called the “Cautivo”, or captive.
The best processions on Holy Tuesday in Malaga are Las Penas, La Estrella and El Rocio. The procession of Las Penas guides the image of Christo de la Agonía and La Virgin de las Penas. The image shows that Jesus has been crucified and suffering, followed by a crying Maria, which has a cloak made from flowers. Every year the virgin has a new cloak, as the flowers used are from the gardens of the city hall. And finally, La Virgin del Rocio dressed in white, makes an entrance. This image is also known as the bride of Malaga, because this is the only Virgin of Semana Santa that is dressed in white, like a bride’s dress.
On Holy Wednesday in Malaga, it is recommended to see the procession of “El Rico”, as the Cofradía of this procession has a special story. It is said that many years ago, when people died of the plague, there were not enough bearers to carry the images through the streets. Therefore, in order to acquire more bearers, the Cofradía asked prisoners to help them carry it. The prisoners helped the brotherhood carry the trono through the street without fleeing. Afterwards, king Carlos III was very impressed by this and said that each year a prisoner would be released because of their loyalty. The only condition was that the prisoners that were to be released were not sentenced because of murder.
Holy Thursday in Malaga consists of three recommended processions. The first procession is performed by the brotherhood of the Christo de la Buena Muerte, or Christ of the good death. This procession is accompanied by legionnaires, which carry the image of the crucified Jesus, who has supposedly died. The image is followed by the image of Señora de la Soledad. The legionnaires arrive by boat in Malaga and go from the port to the church to escort the bearers.
The second procession is called Zamarrilla, which is named after a bandit. The legend says that the bandit was a fugitive and tried to hide from the police that were looking for him. It was said that he found a church nearby and hid behind the skirt of the virgin that was there. The police could not find him and moved on. As a token of Zamarrilla’s appreciation, he nailed a white rose on her chest, which miraculously changed to red.
The third procession is the highlight of Holy Thursday. During this procession the Virgin de la Esperanza is being guided through the streets. It is said that this float of Semana Santa is the heaviest and one of the most luxurious ones in the world. The amount of bearers for this floats counts more than hundred people, which will be walking over rose petals that are spread before them.
For this day in Malaga it is recommended to go to the procession of the Virgin de Servitas. During this procession, which is late in the evening, all of the streetlights and lights from the shops are turned off in order to achieve a more melodramatic effect. The nazarenos are walking with candles behind the image of Maria, which is dressed in black, as this procession represents the funeral of Jesus.
Domingo de Resurrección
On this day in Malaga, Sunday of Resurrection, Jesus has been resurrected, which is cheerfully celebrated by all. The nazarenos take off their capirotes and are dressed in colourful clothing. Moreover, on this day all the Cofradías accompany the procession that is starts in the centre of Malaga.
For timetables of the processions and more information about Semana Santa in Malaga, please visit the official website
Conversely, If you would like to know more about other festivals and celebrations in Spain, please visit our blog. Nevertheless, if Semana Santa is not your thing, we would recommend to see at least these tourist attractions in Malaga
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