Kristian Kaarna at a dress rehearsal at Riogordo's El Paso ground. SUR
A triple serving of award-winning Easter week passion in the Axarquía

A triple serving of award-winning Easter week passion in the Axarquía

Local actors are reenacting the life and death of Jesus Christ on Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Saturday 8 April in Torre del Mar, Cajiz and Riogordo

Jennie Rhodes

Friday, 31 March 2023, 10:31


El Paso, or the Passion Play as it is known in English, is being performed in three places in the Axarquía this Easter Week.

On both Good Friday, 7 April and Saturday 8, the small hamlet of Cajiz, which belongs to Vélez-Málaga, and Riogordo in the upper Axarquía are reenacting the life, passion and death of Jesus Christ.

The performances in Cajiz both start at 11am when 200 actors act out 36 scenes from the Old and New Testament on an open air stage.

The scenes represent Herod's palace, the hall of judgement, the well of the Samaritan woman and the crucifixion. All of the actors are amateurs and residents of the village.

El Paso de Cajiz has been declared a Festival of Tourist Singularity in the province of Malaga and it was awarded the Carlos Enrique López Navarro prize on 23 March this year. The award recognises the promotion and dissemination of Easter Week in the Axarquía.

The Cajiz performance is also being performed on the outdoor stage on Torre del Mar's promenade (next to La Estrella beach bar to the east of the lighthouse) at 11am on Palm Sunday, 2 April.

The Passion Play is also being performed in Riogordo on 7 and 8 April and there the event starts at 5pm on both days.

Foreign residents

The three-hour play depicts 17 scenes from the life, passion and death of Jesus Christ, including Jesus meeting with the Samaritan woman at the well, the sermon on the mount, the choosing of the twelve apostles, the curing of a blind man, the last supper, the trial before Pontius Pilate, Anas, Caifas and Herod, the carrying of the cross and Jesus' crucifixion.

The first El Paso de Riogordo took place in 1951 and since then it has won awards both nationally and internationally. In recent years and as the foreign population of the village has grown, a number of foreign residents have taken part in the event, playing different roles.

Long-term Riogordo resident Leila Lawson has been involved in the play since 2004 playing a 'Woman of Jerusalem'.

Leila has been joined by a number of other foreign residents keen to participate in village life over the years and this year is no exception. Kristian Kaarna, who has lived in Riogordo for three years and is originally from Finland, is joining in this year's production.

Kristian, 53, a photographer, told SUR in English that for him El Paso is "culturally so interesting and people are so active and friendly. They organise so many fiestas so it is definitely a new experience and place to meet more local people."

This year tickets can be bought through a QR code which is available on the website (see below) or from the following establishments in Riogordo, Torre del Mar and Malaga city: The Calvario (El Paso de Riogordo outdoor ground), Riogordo town hall, Cereria Zalo and Tienda Nazareño both in Malaga city and at Pasatiempos bookshop in Torre del Mar.

Tickets cost 10 euros for adults and seven euros for children (aged six to 12) and pensioners.


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