Holy Week, also known as Semana Santa, is a 7-day holiday celebrated worldwide by Catholics. But Spain, let me tell you, they go all out! They have the most religious events during this week, with massive processions, religious performances, and parades that are a sight to behold. Each region in Spain celebrates the Holy Week differently.
The focus of this celebration is on Jesus Christ The Savior’s life, suffering, and resurrection and it’s been going on since the 16th century.
Now, every year, cities and regions in Spain host the grandest processions of the Biblical figures, as well as religious events. If you’re here during the Semana Santa season, you’re in for a unique and unforgettable experience as you witness a myriad of easter traditions and Catholic culture.
Here are some facts you should know about the Holy Week celebrations in Spain.
Symbolism is taken seriously
The first day of Holy Week is a big deal as it symbolizes the arrival of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem. Locals greet the savior’s arrival with palm branches, symbolizing victory, triumph, peace, and eternal life.
Processions Ain’t No Joke
A procession in the Semana Santa is no ordinary thing. It’s a religious act that shows devotion to the creator. Churches from different cities participate by creating a float or “trono”, usually carried by members of brotherhoods and penitents. It takes some muscle to carry these heavy “tronos” for long hours, sometimes up to 12 hours. The carriers have to be strong, steady, and super devoted to carrying that “trono”. And get this, aside from the heavy weight of the “trono”, penitents need to endure the long hours of walking from the local church to the town centre and back to its origin. It’s not uncommon to find them practicing throughout the year for the processions.
Processions Tell a story
As the Holy Week progresses, so do the stories behind the processions. Each day leading up to Easter Sunday has its own significance. From the anointing of Jesus in Bethany to his prediction of his own death, to the mournful processions of Maundy Thursday, the vibe varies according to the day of the week. Monday to Wednesday is devoted to church attendance, with the mass’s subject matter reflecting the day’s designated event. These three days prepare the way for the emotional and passionate processions that will take place from Thursday to Easter.
Floats themselves are a work of art
Saying that pasos are world-class is an understatement. Each float is unique and one-of-a-kind, decorated with flowers and lights. It usually carries wooden statues of Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, saints, and other Biblical characters.
Bands escort the participants to different towns, bringing life to the streets and plazas. Some pasos even have long skirts to cover the staves or handles, giving the impression that the float is moving on its own. Each city has its own distinct features, showcasing what Semana Santa means to them.
Some floats even have other props like candles, lamps, and even an altar. The intricate details and flower arrangements make them even more stunning, giving honor to the Biblical figures it carries.
Semana Santa is more traditional in Andalusia
Out of all the regions in Spain, Andalucia is the place to be for those who want solemn and traditional celebrations during Semana Santa. This southern region of Spain goes all out every year to present the most beautifully designed pasos in the country.
Each city has its way of expressing what Semana Santa means to them, but you can still find traditional rituals in Andalucia. Don’t miss out on cities like Malaga, Seville, Granada
Malaga’s Meaningful Holy Week Celebration
Travelers looking for a unique Holy Week celebration can go to Malaga. Malaga offers a meaningful celebration. Their way of celebrating offers visitors a more enjoyable view of what Semana Santa entails.
The air is filled with floral scents and incense, and the devout participants don colorful robes and lights, accompanied by spontaneous a cappella performances during the processions.
Moreover, numerous restaurants, pubs, and cafes serve the best-tasting Holy Week dishes, including sweet treats like torrija and stews.
Looking for a short stay in Malaga during the Semana Santa? No problem. Our apartments, aparthotels and pod hostel in Malaga are available for booking on our website. Our accomodations are right in the middle of Malaga so you won’t miss a wink of Semana Santa’s activities. We also have a ton of fun stuff that will keep you engaged through out your stay in Malaga.