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People sat waiting in the rain for the Semana Santa processions. SUR
Holy Week washout in Malaga: A sign from the heavens?
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Holy Week washout in Malaga: A sign from the heavens?

The faithful were disappointed that the most important week in Andalucía's calendar was all but cancelled, but nobody could deny that this year seeing the rain was more important than watching the processions

Jennie Rhodes

Malaga

Friday, 5 April 2024, 17:23

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It always rains during Holy Week in Malaga, regardless of when it falls. I can't remember many in the 15 years I've been here when there hasn't been at least the threat of cancelled processions and quite often one or two days when they haven't gone ahead. Locals will also tell you that it is traditional for the heavens to open at some point during the week.

But this year has gone down in history and was the wettest in 80 years. The rain was, at times, biblical, if you'll excuse the obvious reference. The sight and sound of rivers gushing throughout the province and the joy at seeing water pouring into the previously 'dead' Viñuela reservoir in the Axarquía has been nothing short of a miracle.

The faithful were disappointed that the most important week in Andalucía's calendar was all but cancelled, but nobody could deny that this year seeing the rain was more important than watching the processions. 'Long let it rain' was the call instead of 'Viva' or 'Guapa' (beautiful) which would otherwise have been heard in the streets as images of Our Lady passed by.

Attempts have been made in recent months in towns and villages across the province to ask for rain by organising special processions of the local patron saint, by and large without much joy. Perhaps they all need to be ready to come out at the same time to get the desired result.

Another way of looking at it is that God doesn't particularly enjoy all the fervour that comes with Holy Week and is trying to say that religion is better practised on a smaller, less showy scale. There has to be some explanation as to why it always rains during Holy Week in Malaga.

This year it felt like the heavens were trying to send us a sign; as the final procession would normally be coming to an end on Easter Sunday it was the rain that finished. There's always next year; Semana Santa in Andalucía is a given. The rain, unfortunately, is not. A neighbour suggested that Semana Santa take place every month for a while to see if it would always bring the rain.

But now it's time for the politicians to get over the tourism losses and focus on the fact that while the reservoirs are looking better, they're far from full. I nearly wept as I read an article that said subtropical fruit growers of the Axarquía would be able to go back to irrigating their mangoes and avocados now that we have enough water.

The message from those in power here on earth must be to continue restricting water. We don't know when it will rain like that again. The losses will be far greater if tourists stop coming because there is no water and if the growers go back to irrigating crops that really shouldn't have been grown here in the first place. No lessons will have been learned and we really will be doomed.

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