Saturday, 26 April 2014

Semana Santa 2014: Holy Week in Andalucia

A show, a glorious celebration, a crowded nightmare, a tradition, a spectacle. Whatever your feelings about Semana Santa in Spain, you can't deny that it's a sight to behold. And the best place to behold it is generally perceived to be Andalucía.

Despite once being an adopted andaluza, the only places I had ever seen Holy Week processions prior to 2014 were Valencia and Madrid, two cities not commonly associated with Semana Santa. So when Caminos de Pasión offered me the chance to delve deeper into the religious and cultural traditions of Semana Santa in the provinces of Sevilla, Córdoba and Jaén, I signed up quicker than you can say hermandad*. What followed were four intense days exploring the eight towns that make up the Caminos de Pasión route (Carmona, Osuna, Puente Genil, Cabra, Priego de Córdoba, Baena, Lucena and Alcalá la Real), watching more processions than you can shake a capirote* at, speaking to members of hermandades and finding out that Holy Week traditions vary from town to town. Turns out that once you've seen one paso, you really haven't seen them all.

I'll be writing more about my experiences for Flush Magazine, but in the meantime here are just a few photos of Semana Santa 2014.

Here she comes! Procession in Puente Genil

9am on Good Friday & all you can see is red-coated drummers? Must be in Baena.

Baena's famous drummers learn their craft from an early age.

Baena: Sensory overload

Procession-watching fuel

Band on the streets of Alcala la Real

Paso, Lucena

Balcony view, Puente Genil

*Hermandad = brotherhood, the groups which participate in the processions, Capirote = pointed cap worn by nazarenos, penitents who participate in processions


  1. I love the look on the face of the little boy drummer. :-) So cute. :-)

  2. Thank you Kate for the post & the photos. My family lived in Andalucia for many years and in the mid 70's one of my mother's very dearest friends was the Bishop of Malaga. He had a wonderful sense of humour and told her the following joke which I remember very Semana Santa.
    The Nazarones are in the procession when one of them starts to walk away from the procession. His friends call out "Jose where do you think you are going, come back here" Jose replied "I can't, I have to follow this path". The others all say "What other path?" Jose, by now quite some way away, called back to his friends "The tram path, I have by big toe stuck in the tram line".

  3. Glad you liked it! Thanks for sharing the joke, that's a good one. Your mother certainly had some friends in high circles - and with a good sense of humour!

  4. Thanks Kate. My mother, who was extraordinary woman with an amazing talent for collecting truly weird and wonderful friends around the world, had a passion for animals.
    One of the pack of dogs we had in Spain was a Belgium Shepherd, a beautiful dog called Nefertiti-Honington-Bunch! (Long story). My mother was in Malaga with Honey one day when she was stopped by two men, one in religious clothing, the other in civilian clothes.
    They asked my mother what kind of dog she was, they started chatting, the 'priest said "come and tea coffee and tell us more", so she did and they walked off and into the Bishop's Palace.
    The so-called 'civilian' was an old friend of the Bishops, he was also the head of Malaga Jail!
    And this was in the days of Franco and his regime, a very heavy duty policeman who was the best Scrabble player I have ever met!
    Vayo con Dios Kate.

  5. What an intense but brilliant experience, Kate! I look forward to reading more about your Andalucian Semana Santa!


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