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Semana Santa - Holy week

The Aroma of Burning Candles © Michelle Chaplow
Holy Week, Semana Santa, in Andalucia is an event that literally transforms towns and cities across this region

Semana Santa - Holy week

Semana Santa Dates 

2023 Sun Apr 2 - Sat Apr 8
2024 Sun Mar 24 - Sat Mar 30

Holy Week, Semana Santa, in Andalucia is an event that literally transforms towns and cities across this region. Processions of elaborately decorated floats with Jesus and Mary statues, groups of pointy-hood wearing Nazarenos (penitents), and shrill brass bands, walk slowly through the streets, from their parish church to the cathedral and back. It is an amazing experience, and a great time to come to Andalucia if you want to imbibe some deeply-held traditions that have less to do with religion than with social groupings and rituals. Many people avoid this time of year to visit Andalucia, but if you come prepared, both for the crowds and the inflated prices, then it is well worth the effort. You will never see anything like it again.

Semana Santa / Holy Week Dates. Most of the processions take place from Palm Sunday (Sunday before Easter Sunday) to Good Friday and Easter Saturday. there are very few processions on Easter Sunday and none on Easter Monday. Maundy Thursday and Good Friday are public Holidays in Andalucia.

 

 

major pageantry

If you want major pageantry and rich, bejewelled Virgins, Malaga or Seville are the cities to head for. Seville has 60 brotherhoods, some with as many as 2000 members. The biggest stars of the show are the Virgins of Macarena and Triana, both of which make their grand appearance at 'La Madrugada', the small hours of Good Friday.

Semana Santa is an amazing experience, and a great time to visit to Andalucia © Michelle Chaplow
Semana Santa is an amazing experience, and a great time to visit to Andalucia.
 

City Centres

From Holy Thursday to Easter Sunday traffic is closed off in city centres and the solemn processions take over in the afternoons (so be sure to do your shopping in the morning). The aroma of burning candles, the passionate strains of a late night saeta and the mournful trumpets that accompany images of Christ and the Virgin Mary create an other-wordly ambience that can transport even the most casual observer to another time and place.

But you don't have to be in a big city to get the Semana Santa vibe - villages and towns of every size have their own celebrations, and each province offers its own variation on the Holy Week theme, with many festivities declared to be of National Interest for Tourists

Discover more about Semana Santa in Andalucia.

There is one procession on five different days during Semana Santa in Estepona. These days are Palm Sunday (Domingo de Ramas), Easter Wednesday (Miércoles Santo), Easter Thursday (Jueves Santo),… More →

Throughout seven days, Andalucia is surrounded by a spiritual halo. Semana Santa is a tradition which is repeated year after year; a time when the devout and curious jointogether to participare in… More →

In most towns and cities throughout Andalucia, during Semana Santa (Holy Week), groups of penitentes, also called nazarenos, accompany their statues of Jesús and Mary as they’re carried out of… More →

To get an idea of the sights and sounds of Semana Santa in Seville, watch this video. Under the blue cloth, which acts as a skirt for the paso (float), are 36 men called costaleros, all bent… More →

Practical Tips for Semana Santa (Holy Week) in Andalucia. Be aware that streets, especially in large cities, can get extremely crowded during the afternoons and evenings in Semana Santa

Holy week processions throughout Andalucia may differ according to the traditions of each city or town. However, there is a general order to most, starting with a large cross, cruz de guía, that… More →

Glossary of Holy Week terms. Know you Capa, Capirote, Capuz, Cofradias, Costaleros, Faja, Pasos, Penitente, Pregonero, Saeta and Tunica.

The “Nazarenos” are the members of the “cofradías” who participate in the processions. They are also known as the “penitentes” (penitent ones).

Semana Santa, like any other festival, has its own special flavours and this is especially during this week because traditionally Catholics are not supposed to eat meat. A great time for seafood… More →

The aftermath of Holy Week in Andalucia is something most tourists never see. Many locals are also able to avoid actually experiencing the devastation left behind as crowds and procession bearers… More →

Semana Santa in Andalucia is not only a religious event, it is also a tourist event. Thousands of visitors descend upon this region either to enjoy the Holy Week festivities in Andalucia or to… More →

If you really want to understand Semana Santa in Andalucia, then you need to learn about the groups of people who are at the heart of it all - the cofrades or members of cofradías, the religious… More →

 

Semana Santa in the towns.

Málaga's Holy Week celebrations were declared to be of interest to International Tourism in 1965 and they have also obtained the regional stamp of approval "Fiesta of National Interest". Thousands… More →

Like so many others, the Holy Week processions in Huelva are certified as "Fiesta of National Touristic Interest" and thus touted as one of the best in Spain (we'll leave that to each visitor to… More →

Processions take place throughout the province along with Passion Plays as well. There is one more special claim to fame by the provincial capital in that no where else in Andalucia can you… More →

Semana Santa is celebrated in Córdoba capital and throughout the province with numerous villages having obtained the government stamp of approval "Fiesta of National Touristic Andalucia".

We hear a lot about Holy Week in Seville and a few other provincial capitals like Huelva and Málaga, but very little about Almería. You might be surprised then to learn that Almería deserves more… More →

Strictly speaking this is a religious festival, but for most of the week, solemnity isn't the keynote - there's a lot of carousing and frivolity, and bars are full day and night with entire… More →

In 1993, a young woman from the village of Luque in Cordoba had the idea of creating an hermandad (church brotherhood which goes out in a procession in Holy Week) specifically for women.… More →

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