Holy Week in Christianity is the last week of Lent and the week before Easter.
Associated with it is the religious holiday of Friday of Sorrows, but the week itself includes Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday or, as it is called in the Catholic Church, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. Note that Easter Sunday, is not included, even though related with it.
Holy Week is a vacation period but also a big celebration all over Spain, in particular in the southern region of Andalucia (where we happen to be).
In Málaga the lifelike wooden or plaster sculptures are called "tronos" [thrones]. These are carried through the streets by penitents dressed in long robes, often with pointed hats, followed by women in black, called "manolas" carrying candles for up to 11 hours. Kids also take part on this, leading the walk.
These thrones are physically carried on the necks of costaleros, and can weigh up to 5000 kg. These statues are set up and maintained by hermandades and cofradías, religious brotherhoods that are common to a specific area of the city, whose precede the paso dressed in Roman military costumes or penitential robes.
Those members who wish to do so wear these penitential robes with conical hats aka capirotes, used to conceal the face of the wearer. These "Nazarenos" carry processional candles, may walk the city streets barefoot, and may carry shackles and chains in their feet as penance. A military band in Malaga (only drums in my hometown) accompany the group, playing funeral marches, hymns or songs written for the occasion.
This is a very impressive season to visit Spain and feel the drums beating indie your chest.
Here in Malaga, things go particularly crazy. The city center is covered on chairs. People are paying thousands of euros to rent a balcony in the main street, to be able to come out and sing, as the throne passes by.
We will not be here to see it in full bloom (as we hare heading to Zaragoza, to visit our family during the break) but today, we could get an idea of how it feels here in the South and some close shots, which we hope you guys enjoy.
Kids are a central part of this very religious celebration.
Some candles got bent by the hand point, due to the intense heat.
These are the so-called Manolas or women in black, as a sign of sorrow for Jesus.
I really like the lace and traditional hair-piece, which is called peineta. Reminds me of geisha's stuff.
The bell rings, so time to keep walking.
Leaders carry these silver sticks, with the sign of their religious association aka Cofradía.
And they come in front, leading the throne.
It's not too serious as it seems, more of a neighborhood (entire city) festival, in my view. Bus is stopped, cars cannot go through, stores closed. So people drops and watches thrones go by.
It's kind of fun.
Except for the holy smoke, that makes it extra complicated to shoot a nice one.
Finally, the heroes of the day!! Costaleros carrying the Throne, during many hours. They have a bell in the front, which is used to indicate "stop" or "go". But you feel sorry for them...
Thrones represent different Bible episodes. The bible is long, hence the many thrones.
Brass & drums, to the bottom of your heart.
Military band. I really liked the uniforms. They made a nice contrast.
Kids, smoke and here it comes... The second throne.
La Virgen, which was shaking like an Omikoshi.
...along with more drums and brass.
Playing under this burning (30C) sun.