The Holy Week (La Semana Santa in Spanish) is a monumental religious Spanish event, declared as an event of International Tourist Interest in 1965 (although it in fact dates back to the 2nd century). The celebrations are to remember the Passion of Jesus Christ (the final short period of Christ’s life leading up to his crucifixion, from the Latin passionem for “suffering, enduring”). The Holy Week is above all known for its holy processions representing the most significant events of the Passion.

Malaga’s Holy Week is organised by 45 Cofradías (religious brotherhoods), who each lead processions throughout the week. The Holy Week of Malaga 2019 is Sunday 14th of April – Sunday 21st of April.



The Holy Week: how unique!

The Holy Week both in Spain and in Malaga is notable for its unique curiosities:

  • The role of the Cofradías gives a special environment to this celebration. Spain is one of the only countries where these Catholic brotherhoods still exist.
  • The members of these Cofradías taking part in the processions are dressed to impress: wearing tunics and hoods (pointed), and bearing candles (extremely big ones!), crosses and serious rule books, these people are called “Nazarenos” or “penitentes”.
  • The Nazarenos are known for wearing a typical hat (“capirote”) that has its roots in the Spanish Inquisition (not a very happy origin!). The “capirote” was used to humilate the condemned men and only after that humilation could they be forgiven.
  • The sharp-pointed form of the hood symbolizes that the “penitente” is closer to the divine spirit (in heaven).

Traditional Holy Week sweets

The Holy Week offers a large variety of Malaga’s typical sweet specialities. For one, you cannot leave Malaga without trying “torrijas” with a delicious “café con leche”. In the Middle Ages, the Holy Week’s sweets were intended to give the farmers energy. That is why you may notice that they will certainly not be helping you with your bikini challenge! ????

  • Leche frita: fried mass of flour, egg, sugar, dusted with cinamon
  • La mona de Pascua: Cake made with flour, yeast, eggs, sugar, olive oil and orange zest
  • Torrija: A slice of bread (a few days old) dipped in milk or white wine and egg, then deep-fried in olive oil, sweetened with honey, sugar or treacle and finished with cinamon



Where can I see the Holy Week’s activities in Malaga?

All week long, the Cofradías will proceed through the city at all times of day. The most important processions will take place on Thursday and Good Friday.

If you want to see the most processions as possible then you should go to:

  • Calle Marqués de Larios
  • Plaza de la Constitución
  • Plaza de la Merced
  • Alameda Principal (one of the main avenues in the centre)


Useful tips:
  • Don’t miss the procession of the Virgen de las Penas, which is typically on the Tuesday from 6 p.m. Her mantle is made out of more than 5000 flowers!
  • Lose yourself in the historic centre’s streets. This is really one of the best ways to enjoy Holy Week to the full and you will find all sorts of surprises.
  • Travel to the centre of Malaga by bus because the city will be full of people also there to celebrate this special event (check out EMT mobile app; buses of Malaga).
  • Obtain an itinerary for the processions during the Holy week. You will able to find paper versions in many establishments or else you can find them on the mobile app: Holy Week CofradíasMLG



Useful Spanish vocabulary for the Holy Week:

Need-to-know vocabulary translated into French and English so you’ll never miss out!

  • Cofradías y las Hermandades: confrérie, confraternity or brotherhood
  • Cuaresma: carême, Lent
  • Procesión: procession religieuse, procession
  • Trono: trône, throne
  • Costalero: nom de la personne qui est chargée de porter les trônes, name of the person who is in charge of carrying the throne
  • Nazareno o Penitente: frères des différentes confréries, habillés d’une manière spécifique à leurs groupes ; Brothers of the different confraternities dressed in a way specific to their brotherhood
  • Capirote: chapeau pointu en forme de cône porté par les condamnés. Pointed hat with conical form, worn historically by criminals.
  • Cirio: cierge, large alter candle
  • Incienso: encens, incense