Semana Santa, Holy Week in Spain

This week many places around the world will mark the Catholic feast of Holy Week to celebrate Easter.   In Spain,  predominantly a Catholic country, the stunning spectacle of Semana Santa is participated in, or witnessed by huge numbers.  Over a million line the streets in Seville to see the most respected brotherhoods or fraternities.  Decorative floats with religious statues and iconography are carried through the streets of towns and cities throughout Semana Santa.  The floats are considered precious masterpieces and the processions are steeped in ancient traditions.
Hooded penitent figures from different brotherhoods lead the elaborate processions and carry the the enormous and incredibly heavy floats on their shoulders.  The floats gently sway in a ghostly fashion, an incredible emotional and solemn effort of camaraderie to support floats, which often weigh several tonnes.  We were shown a float being prepared in Jerez which weighed one tonne and would be carried on the shoulders of forty people. There are exsisting floats weighing more than five tonnes and are carried by two hundred and fifty people.  So important is Semana Santa in Spain we have heard bands practising, and seen balconies, streets, churches and floats being carefully prepared for weeks in advance.
Previously we attended the Velez –Malaga Semana Santa, an amazing spectacle, in which you can line the streets and be a part of the procession rather than being a member of a huge crowd as in Seville and other cities.  We were handed sugared almonds and watched the local children making balls of wax from the wax candle drippings in the street.  This year we saw the palm Sunday procession in the fantastic coastal town of Mijas and the Maundy Thursday evening procession in Loja, both places in which you can imerse yourself, follow the band and stand beside the floats and witness the pain on the faces of those carrying their enormous burdens.
The atmosphere in Loja was electric, the cafés along the procession route were buzzing; as always an event in Spain is a family event, with so many families and friends of all ages socialising long into the night.  We followed the processions route into the old incense filled narrow streets of Loja to see streets of elegant ladies dressed all in black each holding a candle each to form a passage way full of light and throw flower petals for the procession to walk through whilst the following band of drums, trumpets, horns and flutes played on mournfully.
Semana Santa, an unforgettable experience.
Brotherhood Band, Semana Santa in Loja Granada, Spain
Brotherhood, Semana Santa in Loja Granada, Spain
Jesus statue being carried through the streets during Semana Santa in Loja Granada, Spain
Semana Santa in Loja Granada, Spain
Mary statue being carried through the streets during Semana Santa in Loja Granada, Spain
Photalife

38 Comments Add yours

  1. Tara says:

    What a sight to witness. Your photos have captured the ceremony of the occasion beautifully. #MySundayPhoto

    1. Thank you, it really is a special event to witness.
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  2. What an incredible looking event

    Have a good Easter and thank you for linking up

    1. Hi, hope you had a good Easter, thanks for hosting early. The floats started in Loja at 6:30pm due to reach the end of the route at 3am!
      Topsy Turvy Tribe recently posted…Semana Santa, Holy Week in SpainMy Profile

    1. Thanks, there was a lot of beautiful craftsmanship on display
      Topsy Turvy Tribe recently posted…Semana Santa, Holy Week in SpainMy Profile

  3. blogofdadjames says:

    That is an impressive event!

    1. Impressive to see so much community spirt and passion
      Topsy Turvy Tribe recently posted…Semana Santa, Holy Week in SpainMy Profile

  4. Emma T says:

    Really interesting photos – if a little creepy with all the masks

    1. Thanks, glad you like the photos, our eldest was fascinated by the masks. I believe they were originally designed for penitents to seek forgiveness while hiding their identity.
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  5. Tim says:

    Love the pageantry in all these shots. Those hooded penitents look very creepy though!

    1. Those distinctive cloaks and hoods definitely added to the atmosphere
      Topsy Turvy Tribe recently posted…Semana Santa, Holy Week in SpainMy Profile

  6. Wow this looks and sounds like an amazing experience. I can’t believe how heavy those floats are and how many people are needed to carry them #KCACOLS

    1. Amazing, teamwork or what!
      Topsy Turvy Tribe recently posted…Semana Santa, Holy Week in SpainMy Profile

  7. Amazing photos, the Madonna looks like quite a load

    1. Thanks, we were told in Jerez that her float is difficult to carry as it is so ornamental and everything on the float sways.
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  8. What an education this is, quite the most impressive Easter parade.

    1. Its a huge Parade throughout Spain. Our nearest town had nine days of back to back parades each with a route map!
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  9. dadbloguk says:

    What an amazing sight and what an amazing event to be a part of. It is great to see Easter traditions holding strong in parts of the world. As ever, your images are amazing! Wishing you a happy Easter.

    1. Many thanks, happy belated Easter to you. We enjoyed seeing the traditions of this event.
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  10. Cathy Glynn says:

    Oh wow, what a fabulous ceremony to witness. Happy Easter x

    1. Belated happy Easter, this event definitely has a wow factor.
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  11. What a wonderful parade and you have captured the moment beautifully #MySundayPhoto

    1. Thanks, glad you like
      Topsy Turvy Tribe recently posted…Semana Santa, Holy Week in SpainMy Profile

  12. My in-laws have a place in Spain and they sent similar photos yesterday. Beautiful captures. #MySundayPhoto

    1. Thanks, hope they enjoyed their Semana Santa too.
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  13. mummysknee says:

    Wow, looks so interesting. I love experiencing other cultures.

    1. This event is so culturally and socially important here.
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  14. I love this post! What an amazing sight to witness! I really love the gold float with all the candles. An unforgettable experience for you all. Thank you for sharing it with us on #PointShoot 📸

    1. Thanks, definitely an experience to remember.
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  15. Great photos and it sounds like a fabulous atmosphere. So nice that you can get involved in the procession yourselves. #PointShoot. xx P.S I love the new look of the blog – you are definitely inspiring me to go self-hosted too. xx

  16. Bread says:

    Wow. Just wow. That’s very different from anything we do here. I’d love to witness this myself. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday.

  17. wow stunning images as ever!
    #pointshoot

  18. Wow! This looks incredible. What an amazing experience for you all.

    #KCACOLS

  19. Kat says:

    I have seen documentaries on Semana Santa in Seville and have been amazed by the floats and the processions – very steeped in tradition. I would love to see this myself one day – I’d probably have to plan this trip a year ahead because from what I have been informed, the accommodations in the area are expensive during that week? Fantastic photos!

  20. The floats look beautiful but I agree with some of the other comments. The hoods are creepy. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday.

    1. Thanks for co hosting and commenting. I guess we associate the costumes as being creepy nowadays but they are very traditional and have been in existence for a long time

  21. This looks amazing. I’d love to go sometime #kcacols

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