Semana Santa (Holy Week, or simply Easter Week in English) is not just a religious festival; it’s a deep-rooted tradition dating back centuries.
This week-long event brings together whole communities and has, in recent decades, become a major tourist attraction, especially in the major cities in the south of Spain, such as Malaga and Seville.
In Malaga during this week, the city is paralysed by religious fervour. So if you’re counting on getting around without problems, or expecting to have restful sleep, it’s best to book a flight elsewhere for the week!
More than 40 Easter processions
In Malaga city alone, there are more than 40 processions between Palm Sunday and Good Friday – plus one on Easter Sunday.
Processions pass through the streets each day between around 5pm and 4am – and in the morning on Palm and Easter Sundays.
During these grandiose processions, the city’s cofradías (religious brotherhoods) take out their carved images of Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary and other biblical figures, mounted on enormous, ornate floats, through the streets for several hours, stopping for breaks every couple of minutes.
These floats, known as tronos, are carried on the shoulders of bearers (including Antonio Banderas every year without fail) who line up along the metal bars that run in front, behind and beneath.
Each procession is accompanied by a marching band and members of the brotherhood, dressed in robes and pointed hoods in their own individual colours.
Malaga procession routes
The Semana Santa processions in Malaga begin at the individual cofradías before heading to the city centre, taking in a route that passes through the Alameda, Calle Larios and Plaza de la Constitución where enormous grandstands are erected.
For many, Semana Santa is the culmination of many months of preparation and the highlight of the year. And it’s hard to argue with that; it certainly is a spectacle.
And it’s fairly hard to avoid when it sounds like there’s a marching band in your bedroom at 3 o’clock in the morning!
2024 Easter dates
Semana Santa 2024 starts on Palm Sunday, 24 March, and finishes on Easter Sunday, 31 March.
Click here for more information about the timings and the routes.
Daryl is the co-founder of Malaga Guru. He is a copywriter, editor and translator who moved to Malaga a decade ago having first fallen in love with the city on his Erasmus year. After working for many years at local expat newspaper SUR in English, Daryl gained expert knowledge in life from the perspective of foreign residents and decided to co-found this site in 2016.