Semana Santa: Easter in Spain, processions, passion & pointy hats



Semana Santa or Holy Week is the biggest religious celebration of the year in Spain.

What’s the story behind those ‘pointy hats’ (capirotes)? What the difference is between a ‘Trono’ and a “Paso’ float? And how did this Spanish religious tradition all start?

To find out more, Karina and I head down to Málaga to watch the religious processions that include elaborate floats bearing scenes from the Passion of Christ. Although, usually solemn – this is still Spain, which means neither the strong religious beliefs nor the sombreness of the moment can hide the nation’s fervour for lively fiestas – especially in Andalucía!

Join us in the streets of Málaga as we watch two processions from two different ‘cofradías’ or brotherhoods, one called ‘Piety’ and the other ‘Sepulchre’ on Good Friday.  As the beat of the marching drummers approach and the smell of sweet incense fills the evening air, I’ll describe the sights, sounds and atmosphere of Easter in Spain. In this episode we also catch up with two Spanish friends, Jose and Félix who give us their take on the history and traditions of Semana Santa in Andalucía.

One of the most distinctive features of Málaga’s Semana Santa is the presence of huge ornate floats, carried through the streets by hundreds of ‘brotherhood’ members. These thrones depicting scenes from the Passion are escorted by groups of penitents wearing long purple robes and women in black holding lit candles. The silence is occasionally broken by spontaneous saetas‘ typical Spanish religious music with Arabic influences, usually performed from a balcony during a procession.

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WHAT IS WHEN IN SPAIN?

The When in Spain show is a weekly podcast show, recorded in Madrid (and other parts of Spain) where l talk about my ‘warts and all’ observations and insights on life and culture on the Iberian peninsular.

I cast an eye on everyday life, people, places, politics, culture and history and attempt to give an honest opinion from a Brit who has a love-frustration relationship with Spain. I shall attempt to dispel or indeed confirm Spanish stereotypes through my ramblings and see if I can delve into the Spanish psyche.

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WHO THE HELL IS WHEN IN SPAIN?

I’m Paul Burge, former BBC journalist, Hispanophile and Manchego lover. A Brit, born in Oxford and living in Spain for almost 5 years. I currently live in the centre of Madrid.

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CONTACT wheninspain1@outlook.com


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