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From Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, the confraternities of Malaga carry their floats in processions representing the Passion of Christ from His entry into Jerusalem to His Resurrection.
The official route is varied, serious, and respectful, making the sight of each and every one of the confraternities the centre of admiration.
Another feature is the general cheering and enthusiastic applause of the locals in the streets of Malaga, who show a particular devotion to their Christs and Virgins when each procession leaves the church and then when it returns.
Most of the confraternities and brotherhoods of the Passion of Christ have their own centre called a Casa-Hermanad which is like a museum and can be visited. Inside you can get a close-up view of the luxurious beauty of the thrones, the Virgins shawls, and all the equipment and trappings of the liturgy and procession.
Times to watch
Even before dawn begins to break on Easter Monday, thousands of locals congregate inside and around the church of San Pablo in Malaga to witness how the figures of Jesús Cautivo and María Santísima de la Trinidad are carried from their chapel to the processional thrones kept in the nearby centre belonging to the confraternity. This is not simply a movement of figures. It is “the carriage” par excellence. It is spectacular to see the number of public penitents accompanying Jesús Cautivo in the Easter Monday procession, a demonstration of the faith of those living in the neighbourhood of La Trinidad. At times, there have been as many as 30,000 people.
On the night of Easter Monday, another figure of Christ draws behind him, not the deep roots of a humble neighbourhood, but the spirit of a whole race. La Hermandad de Jesús de la Columna y María Santísima de la O, the brotherhood of “the Gypsies”, starts its joyful and somewhat unusual cortege from Frailes street.
The tradition of Nuestro Padre Jesús el Rico granting freedom to a prisoner not convicted of violent crime goes back to a privilege granted by Charles III at a time when there was a cholera outbreak. The prisoners escaped from jail and after carrying the figure of Christ through the streets, they returned, without taking the opportunity of escaping.
One of the curiosities is that some of processions are accompanied by military bands, which have links to a number of the brotherhoods: this include the Regulars with El Cautivo, the Legion with Cristo de la Buena Muerte, the Paratroopers with Ánimas de Ciegos, the Marines with La Soledad and the Cavalry with La Zamarrilla.
And of course, the sober Cofradía de la Expiración is aptly accompanied by the Civil Guard. Finally, the Virgen de la Esperanza is notable for the accompaniment of enthusiastic crowds of Malaga residents, while the Santo Sepulcro in contrast offers a serious and exemplary procession.
And in the province...
In the province of Malaga, the Easter week celebrations in Alhaurín el Grande, Alhaurín de la Torre, Antequera, Archidona, Arriate, Campillos, Istán, Riogordo, Ronda and Vélez-Málaga are especially relevant.
They are all designated as Fiestas of Interest, which gives you an idea of their value and beauty.
More events in Semana Santa: