Delete
SUR
Still special
The Bottom Line opinion

Still special

Whether or not you're very devout or religious - which almost seems irrelevant this week - Semana Santa in Malaga and other towns and cities in southern Spain is a big deal, writes Rachel Haynes

Rachel Haynes

Malaga

Thursday, 28 March 2024, 16:34

Compartir

Every year when Semana Santa comes around it brings a mixture of sensations. There's the general feeling of anticipation at the prospect of a week that's different, albeit still involving going to work. Then there's a sense of curiosity and admiration as you look on from the outside as towns and cities prepare themselves for their processions: overhead traffic lights get tilted out of the way; trains and buses gain special timetables and routes; and even those rubber markers that separate the cycle lane from the traffic are removed where these are on a procession route. And there's even some envy in there, as people throw themselves into an annual event with so much emotion and a sense of belonging.

While I am, these days, firmly in the camp of those who keep out of the way, rather than those who head off into town, knowing full well it's going to be painfully crowded, I admit to switching on the TV or the link to the local channel online to see how the processions are going.

And when you come across someone who doesn't know the area and its customs, you find yourself enthusiastically describing all there is to see and encouraging them to go, even though it's years since you've been.

Whether or not you're very devout or religious - which almost seems irrelevant this week - Semana Santa in Malaga and other towns and cities in southern Spain is a big deal.

It's hard to find someone with no connection with a 'cofradía' (the religious brotherhoods that organise the processions) or who isn't close to someone who is. All ages, all walks of life, all social classes and even all political ideologies can be found in a Semana Santa brotherhood (although the one that got its old standard out embroidered with Franco's name and fascist symbols may well have lost some support this year).

Even if you are an adopted resident, who has come from another culture, you can't help feeling that Semana Santa is partly your own - and proud that your visitors have been suitably impressed.

So this week when the rain that everyone, religious or otherwise, has been praying for months shows its face precisely in the week that it's not really that welcome, you can't help sharing concerns, and looking at the clouds with disappointment.

Next week, when inevitably the sun will shine again, towns and cities will get back to normal, cleaning the wax from the road and putting the traffic lights back in place.

And in the case of Malaga, the hundreds of thousands of locals who filled the streets this week to watch or take part in the processions will go back to their neighbourhoods, and let the tourists have the city centre back again.

Reporta un error en esta noticia

* Campos obligatorios