Easter Holy Week Processions in Spain, This Year of Corona Virus?

Today marks the beginning of Easter. And you’ve guessed it! There are NO Semana Santa (Holy Week) celebrations this year in Spain (or anywhere else for that matter). Although mortality rates have fallen (thank God, Allah, Gaia and the Big Happy Buddha!), we are still on coronavirus lockdown. Since all is quiet on our west end front, here’s a video post showing last year’s processions here in Andalucia to bring our Easter greetings closer to your home.

Strange how it is now? No Easter. . . in Spain. Otherwise the streets would be filled by seemingly endless processions of hooded penitents with pointy hats and expression of grief on balconies and solitary corners in the form of religious flamenco song called Saetas.

We had plans to be in Malaga, Spain to spend Easter holiday there with family, but things have turned upside down as you know. And now there’s a proposal to extend the “cuarentena” (i.e. quarantine) until late April. Oh, what gift of time we all now have!

weeklong semana santa processions in jerez

Holy Week (Semana Santa) is a memorable family thing to do with kids in Spain.  You could NOT miss the religious processions that would typically last all week. . .  because it’s everywhere!  In Andalucia such nazarenos (penitents’) parades would be much more glamorous than in the northern parts of Spain. 

Walking alongside a hooded penitent wife, a father carries a sleeping child, after a Holy Week (Semana Santa) procession in Jerez de la Frontera, Andalucia, Spain. Location: Plaza del Banco.
Walking alongside a hooded penitent wife, a father carries a sleeping child, after a Holy Week (Semana Santa) procession in Jerez de la Frontera, Andalucia, Spain. Location: Plaza del Banco.

In Jerez de la Frontera, there would be week-long processions from over 30 dedicated religious fraternities; many have their origins date back to the medieval ages.

Last year there were 45 official processions that crisscrossed the city, particularly through the small cobblestone streets in the old historic city center (casco historico). Each each one lasted between six and nine hours.

A majority of these religious processions of steel, life-size figurines and men (for most of those carrying the floats were men) started in the early afternoon, around 2:30 in the afternoon and ended close to midnight.

The best ones, however, were the ones that occurred on Black Friday (Noche de Jesus). They started at around 1 in the morning and proceeded silently across town in the wee hours of the morning.

Read more about Easter Processions in Spain here.

A procession of piety during Holy Week (Semana Santa) along Calle Larga, Jerez de la Frontera, Spain.
A procession of piety during Holy Week (Semana Santa) along Calle Larga, Jerez de la Frontera, Spain.

Highly recommended (for future visitors) is the “La Yedra” brotherhood that goes through the historic flamenco neighborhood of Barrio San Miguel. Follow it for 9 hours and if you’re lucky you’d hear something beautiful from a saetero when the procession would stop in front of Peña Flamenca La Buleria.

These Spanish Easter processions in Jerez would happen 5 to 6 times a day, day and night, into the wee hours of the morning, all over the city.  Each would take hours to depart from and return to their parishes.  Each has its pasos (floats) with sculptures of Jesus, Mary and scenes from the Passion of the Christ, some as old as the hermandades (brotherhoods) themselves.  Each float has about 50 men under it, marching in lockstep.

Spanish Easter processions are cultural and educational experience for the entire family, whether you are a Catholic or not,  believer or not. . . with children or not. We usually saw at least one per day in the last couple of years here. Unfortunately, we don’t have it this year. Makes you miss it though.

May our palms be open.

ENJOY! Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE.

THANKS for visiting. That’s it. BIG SMILE!

A procession of piety during Holy Week (Semana Santa) along Calle Larga, Jerez de la Frontera, Spain.
A procession of piety during Holy Week (Semana Santa) along Calle Larga, Jerez de la Frontera, Spain.

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