It has been a few years since I wrote something on this Blog about probably the most important week for the Andalusians: Semana Santa (holy week). So time for a refreshment! Although I won’t be very fresh at this year: about 25⁰C. This due to a nice warm spring here and the late Easter. Easter Sunday is the first Sunday after the full moon that follows the vernal equinox and thus can vary between March 22 and April 25.
There’s no other time of year when visitors and foreign residents have their eyes opened as much to the ceremony of religious tradition in Spain than during Semana Santa.
From Palm Sunday through to Easter Sunday traffic through major towns and cities will be cut off to allow the solemn processions to pass through, sometimes up to seven times a day. The pungent aroma of incense and hot wax, the mournful melody of the trumpets and the spectacle of the swaying ‘tronos’, icons of tearful virgins and hooded brotherhoods are all part of the unique experience that is Semana Santa.
All small towns and villages (for example close by in Setenil, see photo) have scaled-down versions of the bigger processions. However these still manage to demonstrate the strong religious convictions that are present throughout Spain, be it not always on view.
I read that this year there are 1.000 more flights due to come and go from Malaga airport only during the holiday week than last year. A total of about 700.000 passengers are expected to use the airport this week.
What is on view, besides the processions, is the increased security presence over Easter. Like many countries Spain is currently on a higher level alert for a terrorist attack, many towns and cities have had to bring in more officers to work alongside the Local and National Police and civil protection teams to try that everything goes smoothly over the Easter period.
Spain and ‘smooth’ always is a challenging combination, in the same time one of charms of the country.