Semana Santa brotherhoods put finishing touches to their annual week of processions

Images have been moved into place this week.
Images have been moved into place this week. / E.N.
  • Easter celebrations take on a grand scale from Palm Sunday and thousands will flock to town and village centres to witness this cultural and religious tradition

All eyes in the last few days have been on the weather forecast for next week ahead of Semana Santa celebrations. The most important period in Spain's cultural calendar starts this weekend with processions, run by the Confradías (or brotherhoods), on Palm Sunday (14 April).

In larger towns in Malaga province there are religious processions throughout much of next week, especially in Malaga city, Marbella and Vélez-Málaga on the Costa. More places join in as the week goes on and by next weekend, Easter itself, towns and villages will be taking part on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, with a rest day on Saturday.

With so much effort going into preparations for the tronos (ornate platforms carrying images of Jesus and Mary and often other figures from the story of the crucifixion of Christ), any rain would cause huge disappointment. Penitents' clothes have been spring-cleaned and band music polished as thousands get ready to take part. Each year more tourists flock to the ornate and moving spectacles.

Malaga city

The centrepiece of the Costa del Sol's Holy Week events is as usual Malaga city centre. From Palm Sunday through to Good Friday, over 50 different processions spread over six days will wind their way through the streets, staggered from mid-afternoon to the early hours of the next morning.

This Sunday the processions start a bit earlier at 10.15am with the Pollinica, a representation of Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey and a favourite of local children.

As usual, it is relatively easy for spectators to get a good view whatever town or village they are in as the processional routes cover relatively long routes. In Malaga the central stretch of the procession, around the Calle Larios area has been radically altered this year to make it longer and will now finish near the Cathedral. Brotherhoods have been rehearsing new routes to get to the centre and a special metal ramp has been built at the Cathedral for those 'tronos' small enough to fit through the doors and to take into account the new route.

Outside Malaga city, Marbella's old town is venue to several processions throughout the week and it also has its own Pollinica this Sunday starting at 6pm.

In the Axarquía, Vélez-Málaga is known particularly for its 20 processions over the week. The Palm Sunday procession starts at 5pm.

Elsewhere in Malaga province Ronda and Antequera also have spectacular historic processions that attract many visitors.