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A Semana Santa with no processions - but plenty of charity

Food is distributed to families in need with the help of a Malaga brotherhood.
Food is distributed to families in need with the help of a Malaga brotherhood.
  • This year the coronavirus crisis has meant that members of the religious brotherhoods across Andalucía are taking to the streets to help others instead of following their images of Christ and Our Lady

Occasionally rain has caused the cancellation - or interruption - of one of Andalucía's Holy Week processions, causing tears of disappointment among participants.

In Malaga we have to go back 84 years to 1936, however, to find the last time that not a single procession left its church.

This year, faced with the cancellation of the entire week of public celebrations due to the coronavirus lockdown, the brotherhoods that organise the processions have turned their energies to the immediate cause.

Resources and campaigns

'Semana Santa Solidaria' is the name of the programme launched by the Malaga brotherhoods (cofradías), which immediately offered their premises, financial resources and volunteers to help with the coronavirus crisis.

"We started with a blood donation campaign, which was successful; we've given financial help to Hermanitas de los Pobres and Cáritas; we've set up a project with Bomberos sin Fronteras to distribute masks; and we have volunteers who are working to distribute medication to families who can't go out to collect it," said Pablo Atencia,the president of the brotherhoods' umbrella organisation, the Agrupación de Cofradías.

"We have approved a fund of 26,000 euros which will be increased," he added in an interview given to SUR this weekend.

Banderas and his foundation

Actor Antonio Banderas, through his foundation Lágrimas y Favores, named after his own brotherhood that should have staged its procession on Palm Sunday, is also involved in the cause.

His foundation is currently converting a donation of 53,000 euros into more than 30,000 disposable surgical gowns, using a network of small local suppliers and manufacturers.

Banderas and Lágrimas y Favores are also helping the brotherhoods' general Semana Santa Solidaria scheme which, he says, already has 100 volunteers.

Food initiative

One Malaga brotherhood that has gone a step further to help families hit by the coronavirus crisis is the Cofradía de Jesús de Medinaceli, which has invested its annual budget of 10,000 euros in charity work.

From the bar belonging to one of the members, a small team of volunteers manages the distribution of food among local people in need, in collaboration with the Bancosol foodbank and the city council. As many as 50,000 kilos of products were given out to 5,000 families in just one day.

Virtual Semana Santa

Meanwhile the brotherhoods are celebrating Holy Week with their members and supporters with initiatives via their social media and YouTube channels.