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Spectators sheltered from the rain when one brotherhood in Malaga city was caught by a shower. Marilú Báez
Rain mars Easter on the Costa del Sol and across Malaga province with processions and hotel bookings cancelled
Tourism

Rain mars Easter on the Costa del Sol and across Malaga province with processions and hotel bookings cancelled

Occupancy in hotels will be a lot less than 2023 with fewer last minute reservations this year but the downpours are welcome news for local reservoirs

SUR

Malaga

Thursday, 28 March 2024, 13:08

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In exactly the week of the year when many people in drought-stricken Malaga province were praying for it not to rain, Easter processions have been disrupted by the unsettled weather.

Many of the world-famous Holy Week activities across Andalucía in general have been affected with cancellations and changes to routes to try and dodge the downpours.

The poor weather has also hit holiday reservations. The Costa del Sol hoteliers association (Aehcos) said on Wednesday that the occupancy in hotels over the ten-day Easter period will be an estimated 75.9%, almost ten percentage points down on the same holiday period last year and 12 points down on the 84.2% of 2019, ahead of Covid.

"Undoubtedly, the weather has been a factor, with constant rains throughout the province and the forecast of precipitation for the rest of the week having a very negative influence. These have caused many visitors to change their minds," said the president of Aehcos, José Luque.

The sad news for Holy Week faithful and hoteliers alike translated into better news for the area's water levels. The Axarquía and the Costa del Sol have already started to see improvements in their reservoirs, meanwhile Malaga city appears to be out of the most serious level of drought.

Malaga province's reservoirs were at 18.62% full on Monday this week. This was just half of what it was at this time last year.

Every day of the Semana Santa processions had been affected by the rain (or the threat of it) by Wednesday this week, with the forecast not being good for the main Easter weekend.

On Palm Sunday, the first day for the brotherhoods to carry their images through the streets of Malaga, only the image of Jesus on a donkey and the accompanying image of Our Lady went ahead as normal. Other brotherhoods in the city that day cancelled theirs as forecasters expected "muddy" rain at the end of the episode of Saharan dust.

There was panic, however, when one brotherhood, El Prendimiento, ignored the warnings and went out onto the streets for a shorter procession only to be caught in a heavy shower, with the religious images being hurriedly covered with plastic. Its leaders said they had received another weather forecast that had suggested it would be safe to go out.

Other parts of Malaga province also saw their processions severely affected during the week, including those places with big Semana Santa traditions, such as Marbella, Ronda, Antequera and Vélez-Málaga.

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