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Semana Santa Malaga Holy Week Processions

TVSpain made five videos featuring Semana Santa in Malaga: “SALIDAS” (departures), “TRONOS” (floats), “MÚSICA” (music), “PÚBLICO” (public) and the concluding overview “PASIÓN” (passion), The videos has been made with the audio visual material provided by Auntamiento de Malaga (the Town Hall).

Making these videos we wanted to achieve something impossible – to put you right in the heart of the festivities. You need to come here. Visitors from Spain and all over the world fill the streets, sometimes almost doubling the Malag’s population. The food, the people, a beautiful city; it’s all there to enjoy.
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SEMANA SANTA – PASIÓN

Semana Santa in Malaga is an unforgettable experience with a great power to move your soul. You cannot help but get caught in the religious fervor, tradition and solemnity of the celebration. The celebration of Semana Santa in Malaga is one of the largest in Spain.

Religious devotion, art, colour and music combine in acts to commemorate the death of Jesus Christ: the processions. Members of the different Easter brotherhoods, dressed in their characteristic robes, parade through the streets carrying religious statues (pasos) to the sound of drums and music – scenes of sober beauty.

SEMANA SANTA – SALIDAS

Salida is the event whem the procession leaves its home church. The huge an very heavy trones often have difficulties to pass the dorrs. You can see on the video how difficult is manuver the “tronos” via the dors where often just milimeters mak difference. A huge crowd apluse as sonn as the “tronos” apear on the street.

Malaga has social clubs called “cofradias”, which have hundreds of adults and children as members. Each “cofradia” has about 5,000 adult members. They have big buildings beside their parish churches, with a big door opening to the street. These doors are about 30 feet high, and for good reason. Inside the buildings they have the thrones that are used for Holy Week. The main reason for the “cofradias” is to be able to take part in the processions of Holy Week, and the members spend all year preparing for Holy Week. A large amount of money is spent in these preparations, because the members of the “cofradias” want to have the best presentation and procession during Holy Week. There is some friendly competition between the “cofradias”, each trying to get the best presentation.

SEMANA SANTA – TRONOS

“Tronos” are massive floats carried by hundreds of people during the procession. The processions, the first of which takes place on Palm Sunday, make their way slowly on their pilgrimage around the city. Many of the processions pass through an official viewing area which occupies some of the city’s main streets. The processions are organized by the religious brotherhoods (“confradias”) who each carry a massive “tronos” depicting various religious scenes – from Christ on the cross to the Virgin Mary. The “tronos” are lavishly adorned with plush fabric and candles, having undergone months of preparation before the event.

Many of the statues were created by famous artists in the 17th century. The statues are very life like and the ones showing the agony of Christ are very impressive. They cause many viewers to start crying because they seem so real. Most of them have been sculpted out of wood and then a polychrome finish has been applied. In the past statues were used to instruct the faithful in the Catholic faith.
The best goldsmiths and silversmiths have been chosen to decorate the thrones. They are really works of art, recalling all the history of European art, from the Renaissance to the rococo. If you study them, you will see carvings of faces in gold, and all sorts of beautiful designs. Each throne is worth several million euros, because of all the gold and silver used.
At the front of the throne’s beams is a big bell, about a foot high. This is rang with a hammer by the director of the throne to signal the men what to do. To lift the throne, he rings the bell once. There is another signal to lay the throne on the floor, and so forth. There are between 160 and 280 men to lift and carry each throne, at very close quarters, so the signals by the bell are very important.

SEMANA SANTA – MÚSICA

Musical accompainment varies with the character of the brotherhood. Some processions are silent, with no musical accompainment, some have a cappella coirs or wind quartets, however most of them have a drum and trumpet band behind the image of Christ and a brass band behind the Virgin playing religious hymns or marchas from a standard repertoire. Those associated with the images of Christ are often funereal in nature, whilst those associated with the Virgin are more celebratory. You can watchan listen a few popular bands on the video).

As each procession leaves its home church, (an event known as the “salida” – see TVSpain video), at its return (“entrada”), and along the march route, extemporaneous flamenco-style songs may be offered by individuals in the crowd or from a balcony. These songs are generically called “saetas” (arrows). In times gone by they were spontaneous, the singer so overcome with emotion that only a flourish of flamenco will be enough to convey their emotions. Today, they are invariably preplanned. The procession will stop and listen to the song until it is over. You can watch a “saeta” in the beginning of this video.

La Legión (Spanish Foreign Legion) takes part in the procession. It’s similar to the French Foreign Legion, and it is also stationed in Northern Africa, to guard the outpost cities of Ceuta and Melilla. They have a very good band featured on the video. All of the legionnaires are extremely fit. They are very strong and you could see their arm muscles rippling under their green military outfits with short sleeves. The legionnaires are extremely entertaining and the people of Malaga have a love affair with them. You can watch them on the video performing a famous song “Soy el novio de la muerte” (I am the bride of death ).

SEMANA SANTA – PÚBLICO

“Publico” – crowd of people line the streets of Malaga and watch from balconies and windows during the procession. Different generations stand shoulder to shoulder, kids and grandparents alike jostle for position at the roadside. You can sense the continuity and how the festival is massively important to the local neighborhood.

Depending on the character of the brotherhood, the lowering or raising of the images can be followed by applauses of the masses, rewarding the work of the “costaleros” and it’s common to hear cheers and hourrays from the masses..

It’s uplifting site to see the amount of youngsters involved and following the processions with their families or simply looking on excitedly from the curb. The buzz from their excitement is infectious as children run around collecting wax from the hundreds of candles and making them into huge balls, trying to go bigger and better than the kid next to them.

This video is dedicated to the people of Malaga.

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