From March 25th to April 9st, art, religion, and devotion inundate the streets of numerous cities and towns in Spain to commemorate the death of Christ on the cross during the celebration of Holy Week.
For almost 10 days, the processions organised by the different associations and brotherhoods bring faith and tradition together in a proud exhibition of an immaterial cultural heritage which, in certain parts of the peninsula, has been declared a Fiesta of International Tourist Interest.
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Holy Week in Andalusia
Holy Week is one of the main cultural phenomena in Andalusia and, as such, passionate celebrations are held in hundreds of towns in the community, although with the epicentre in capital cities such as Seville and Malaga.
In Holy Week in Seville, more than 60 brotherhoods parade in different processions while the flamenco verse sung from the balconies adds even more sentiment to the route. The climax of the festivities is on the morning of Good Friday when some of the most revered images appear, such as Jesus of the Great Power, the Macarena, Our Lady of Hope of Triana and Christ of the Gypsies.
In turn, in Holy Week in Malaga the images are carried on what are known as tronos (floats) while penitents join the processions.
Holy Week in Castile and León
Since the 16th century, the crowds come together in León to follow the almost thirty processions organised by 16 brotherhoods. Although less flamenco than in the south of the peninsula, they are always accompanied by concerts and speeches, and their main appeal is the quality of the sculptures.
With brotherhoods that date back to the Middle Ages, two of the most important acts with the greatest participation in the Holy Week in Burgos are the Via Crucis on Holy Monday from the Church of Saint Stephen to the hillsides of the castle, and the dance of the saint that is danced on Easter Sunday.
Characterised by its artistic value and the meticulous details of the polychrome wooden sculptures by Gregorio Fernández and Juan de Juni and for the austere musical accompaniment, Holy Week in Valladolid is perhaps one of the most sombre and silent in Spain.
In turn, in Salamanca, Holy Week is the religious event par excellence and, unlike in other places, it has a notable university nature with acts such as the Holy Thursday University Services in the chapel of the old university.
Maritime Holy Week in Valencia
Since the celebrations were initially started by members of the fishing community and sailors in those districts of the city that are close to the sea, Holy Week cannot be conceived in the Valencian capital without the role of the sea in the festivities.
Today, more than 30 brotherhoods participate in the festivities that also have unique features such as the tradition of throwing old dishes off the balconies during the “night of glory” or the parades of residents dressed up as characters from the Bible.