Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

In Pictures: Easter Holy Week parades in Malaga, Spain | Semana Santa

Semana Santa: Easter Holy Week parade in Malaga, Spain
Semana Santa: Easter Holy Week parade in Malaga, Spain
Semana Santa: Easter Holy Week parade in Malaga, Spain

Thousands gathered in Spain last week to watch hooded Easter week penitents walk thorugh the country's streets. The country is renowned for its Holy Week traditions or Semana Santa, with the most glamorous processions taking place in the Andalusia region, particularly in Malaga.

The parades recreate key parts of Easter week from Palm Sunday to the Passion of Christ and aim to bring together artistic and musical strengths of the local communities.

Participants can march for up to twelve hours a day - carrying heavy floats depicting Jesus or Mary and wearing the nazareno or penitential robe.

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The garment, widely used in the medieval period, consists of a tunic and a hood with conical tip (capirote) used to conceal the identity of the wearer.

Colors of the robes depend on the particular brotherhood the penitents belong to. The nazarenos may also carry candles or wooden crosses and can be seen walking the city streets blindfolded and barefoot.

Holy Week in Malaga differs from other Spanish places. Instead of meditation and silence, the parades are celebrated with brass band performances, drums, spontaneous flamenco verses and applause.

Málaga born actor Antonio Banderas attends Semana Santa in Málaga each year where he leads the Virgin de las Lágrimas y Favores (Virgen of Tears and Favours) procession.

Dating back to the 16th century the marches originated as a way for the church to tell the Easter story to illiterate townspeople.

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