Easter in Malaga – Semana Santa

Lasting from Palm Sunday (Domingo de Ramos) to Easter Sunday (Domingo de Resurrección), Semana Santa (Holy Week) is the most important annual cultural and religious event in Spain.

Lasting from Palm Sunday (Domingo de Ramos) to Easter Sunday (Domingo de Resurrección), Semana Santa (Holy Week) is one of the most important annual cultural and religious events in Spain.

Although each Spanish region, and even city and village, has its own customs and practices for Easter, Andalucia takes the top spot for spectacular processions. Sumptuously decorated statues (pasos) on elaborate, candle-filled floats (tronos), surrounded by rows of penitents (nazarenos) in pointed head dresses (capirotes), black-clad ladies in lacy mantillas and backed by a hypnotic drumbeat that almost makes it seem like the floats are swaying in time to the music.

But as impressive as these displays are, there’s a lot more to Semana Santa in Spain than meets the eye – find out more here

The spectacular processions are “living theatre”, with every element carefully designed to tell the story of the Passion (Christ’s death and resurrection). It’s not just visual either; as a way to pay homage to the pain that Jesus went through, some penitents walk in bare feet, the man chosen to play the role of Jesus normally drags a heavy wooden cross and the floats are carried on the shoulders of “costaleros” – all this for anywhere between 6 and 14 hours, depending on how long the procession takes. The costaleros train all year to make sure they all move in perfect sync, which is no mean feat when you see the size of these statues and the frames they’re carried on (some can weigh up to a tonne!). 

What’s the best way to watch the processions?

If all that sounds rather exhausting, spectators have a much easier time of it. In Seville or Malaga you can book seats with the Brotherhoods, reserve a hotel room on the route or if you’re really lucky, you’ll know someone who has an apartment with a view. 

Don’t try to drive into the city, take public transport and follow the signed “pathways” to walk around. All the local newspapers will publish daily itineraries and maps, so our top tip is to find yourself a bar or restaurant on the route, settle in for the night and soak up the atmosphere.

Although cities get all the attention, the essence of authentic Spanish Semana Santa is more often found In the smaller towns and villages, some of which have processions that are classed as “Special Interest Events”.

In Malaga province, the Holy Week celebrations in these towns are classed as Festivals of Special Interest:

Alhaurin el Grande

Alhaurin de la Torre







Velez Malaga

Riogordo has a special place, as the Semana Santa festival is nationally important, on a level with the Los Patios in Cordoba and Semana Santa in Cadiz, Jerez de la Frontera and Almeria.

Easter foodie treats

While you’ll find chocolate Easter eggs pretty much everywhere, there are some delicious Easter cakes and pastries too; be sure to try at least one Torrija, buñuelo de viento, or pestiño 

If you don’t have a sweet tooth, why not sample cod croquettes (croquetas de bacalao) or bacalao pil-pil for something completely different?

And finally …

One of the most unusual Easter traditions can be found in Malaga, where in honour of the Wednesday procession of the brotherhood of Nuestro Padre Jesus El Rico, a prisoner is pardoned and released from jail. Originating in 1759, the “winner” for 2024 will be announced at the last Council of Ministers meeting before the Easter break.

Share this page on social media