Semana Santa or Holy Week in Málaga is one of the most famous in Andalucia. It is renowned as the city that puts on one of the most impressive celebrations in Spain and indeed, it is recognised throughout the world in doing so.

Although the lead up commences on the Friday before, Palm Sunday is the recognised start of this magnificent occasion. This day commemorates the entrance of Christ into Jerusalem when palm branches were placed before him on his way before being arrested and then crucified.

Good Friday is the day when the death of Jesus Christ on the cross is remembered and sanctified. It also signifies the commencement of the end of holy week. Easter Sunday in the Christian church, is the most important day in the calendar of remembrance. For this is the time that Jesus Christ rose from the dead and ascended to heaven.

Throughout the week, from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, huge parades take place with centrepieces of great thrones carried by people who are proud to be chosen to do so. The thrones represent religious images and stir up the passions of believers and anyone that experiences one of the most spectacular and emotional celebrations to be seen anywhere.

During the week the whole of Málaga celebrates. With the most memorable happenings that include the continuous deep sound of the drums and the smell of incense. For the most part, this symbolisation of Christ’s departure from this world and resurrection is celebrated, not with silence and mourning but with a passion that can only happen in Andalucia.

Some of these processions are so huge that certain of the thrones cannot be housed in the church. A number of these can weigh over 5000 kg, which is why so many bearers are needed to carry them. Each of the bearers normally wears a Mantle that serves to cover them and occasionally a headdress. Following each parade, a band normally accompanies it with many people from the different guilds of Malaga in attendance. Additionally, there are the hordes of people, sometimes in their hundreds, who follow a particular throne in order to fulfil a vow or as penance.

The processions wind their way through the centre of the city with the main activity taking place in the Alameda Principal. Tourists and sightseers in their thousands all contribute to making this the most memorable occasion. Favourite sons of Malaga return to join in, including the Málaga born actor Antonio Bandero, who makes a huge effort to spend Semana Santa in the city and where he leads the procession of Virgin de las Lágrimas y Favores (Virgen of Tears and Favours). Here and there, the parades can come to a standstill in front of a balcony where someone is singing a typical song of Easter with all the passion this entails.

There are numerous processions throughout Holy Week happening during the day as well as night time. Each celebrating their appointed message on Palm Sunday, Holy Monday, Holy Tuesday, Holy Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Be sure to come along and experience this wonderful passionate celebration. It will remain with you for the rest of your life. If for any reason the visit is not possible then the Málaga Holy Week Museum is open all year round and displays the processional robes and thrones featured during Semana Santa along with the music and art that exemplify the occasion.

Celebrate Easter in Malaga this year


Fallas ValenciaIn Spain, there are some events that may be outside of Andalusia but they are so famous that they are part of the overall Spanish touristic attraction and should not be missed.

One of these is the Fallas in Valencia. This is a Fiesta that the city plans for the whole year leading up to the celebrations. It is huge with each neighbourhood of the city organising groups of people that work for the 12 months holding fund raising parties where its famous speciality food, paella plays its part in feeding all and sundry.

Throughout this time, artists, sculptors and painters and many more besides, prepare the most breathtaking of huge figurines. These are normally very satirical and based on anyone who has come to the attention of the Spanish public. They are normally elaborate constructions of papier-mâché, wax, wood and other materials sometimes towering up to a height equivalent a five story building. The characters are composed and arranged in outrageous poses with everyone in the relevant neighbourhood contributing to the creative ideas. The competition between each neighbourhood is keen with each doing their best to attract the best artists who are capable of creating the most striking figurines. These can number up to 500 as apart from the different areas of Valencia, other towns in the region also contribute to the festival.

During Fallas itself, many people wear historical regional costumes epitomising the different eras of the city’s history. Although, others dressed up in more modern attire and you may spot a Barrack Obama lookalike or a double of Lady Gaga or other cartoon figures. Each has its own traditional band and all feature the Valencia drum, ensuring that the music and the beating of the drum draws the maximum attention to their presentation.
Fallas begins on March 19th and it is really worthwhile planning ahead to visit during this time. It is naturally very popular and attracts thousands of visitors who are made welcome by the warm people of Valencia. If you choose to go by car then you will travel on one of the most beautiful and interesting motorways in Spain. From Malaga it winds through the mountains before heading across the beautiful countryside towards Granada. It then continues to enthrall by threading through diverse landscapes and nearby pueblos. Ideally, it should take a comfortable days journey lasting around six hours.

The fiesta itself lasts for two weeks. On the four days leading up to March 19, each neighbourhood organises a grand parade showing off their own incredible papier-mâché artistic figurines. These are normally filled with firecrackers ready for the final day of the Fiesta when every one is set alight and burnt. Then, for five days and nights, there is a continuous party with comic, historical, satirical and religious processions. The crowds spill out from restaurants into the streets. Explosions are continuous all day long and even sometimes through the night. Everyone joins in with the majority of streets set up with their own pyrotechnical display. If that wasn’t enough, each day of the Fallas begins at eight in the morning with a wake-up call. Brass bands appear and begin to march in every street playing lively music and behind them are the Fallas who perform by throwing large firecrackers in the street as they stride through. This rises to a crescendo at 14:00 hours every day of the festival with an explosive barrage of coordinated firecrackers and fireworks. Also at the time, the mayor of the Fallas comes on to the balcony of City Hall. Finally, on the last day comes the burning of the effigies climaxing the 12 months of hard work and the few weeks of deserved gaiety.

If you wish a hire car to travel to Valencia then CarGest, the leading car rental company in Malaga, has many models for you to choose from. Simply visit their website for more information.