surinenglish

What is the real cost of devotion?

The image known as the Bride of Malaga.
The image known as the Bride of Malaga. / F. SILVA
  • The 41 official brotherhoods in Malaga will have spent over one million euros on processions this year

  • The main expenses are to pay the ceremonial musical bands, buy flowers and candles and dry-cleaning of the penitents’ robes

The average cost to a religious brotherhood of running its annual procession in Malaga city during Holy Week is around 25,000 euros. As there are 41 brotherhoods and two other groups that parade on the official route in the city each year, the total expenditure on processions is over one million euros. And this excludes communal expenditure on policing, crowd control and temporary grandstands.

In the most part, the money spent by each brotherhood goes towards musical accompaniment, buying flowers to decorate the thrones of Jesus and the Virgin Mary and ordering candles to light the procession and the thrones. Other key expenses include cleaning the penitents’ robes at the dry cleaners, security personnel and other support staff. Some brotherhoods also have to pay members of the armed forces.

The total spent can vary by brotherhood, number of thrones and participants and choice of flowers. One brotherhood, Fusionadas, has six thrones taken out over three different days. Total cost per brotherhood can be between about 10,000 and 70,000; the average is 25,000 euros.

Music can cost a lot

Payment of the ceremonial bands is one of the most important costs. Usually there is a band at the head of the procession, one after the throne of Christ and another after the throne of Mary. Depending on whether the band is cornet or trumpet led, how many members it has and the day of the week, each band could charge from 1,500 to 10,000 euros. Maundy Thursday and Good Friday are the days when music costs the most.

The amount spent on candles carried by the hooded penitents and adorning the thrones of Christ and Mary range from 2,000 to 6,000 euros. As for flowers, orchids and camellias are the most expensive. There are brotherhoods that pay 6,000 to 7,000 euros for the decoration.

In terms of cleaning robes, the most expensive are the velvet ones, followed by those made of damask.

The brotherhoods that invite military to take part, such as Thursday night’s ‘Cristo de la Mena’, have to pay hotel and travel expenses.

Abig part of the cost is paid for from subsidies from the centralised association of brotherhoods (Agrupación de Cofradías). A standardbrotherhood with two thrones receives 19,300 euros in subsidies. Another important source of income is donations from participants that typically range from 20 to 50 euros.