Not before March 22nd nor after April 25th (Holy Thursday and Good Friday in 2015: April 2 and 3).
Holy Week is an eminently religious celebration. A deep-rooted tradition throughout Spain, it evokes Christ’s death and resurrection, and all of its ceremonies are centred on remembering these religious-historical events. Santiago de Compostela’s Holy Week consists of more than a week of activities, including processions, liturgical services, a series of sacred and ancient music concerts and a thematic photography competition and exhibition.
The Holy Week’s most spectacular aspect is its processions. Of medieval origin, such processions have survived to our time as an example of traditional religiosity but also as a great tourist-cultural attraction. They depict, often with highly valuable images of saints (which are carried in procession), Jesus Christ’s dramatic passion according to the Gospels. The processions are organised by “cofradías” or brotherhoods, religious versions of the old guilds. Santiago currently has 11 brotherhoods, including a very characteristic student one.
The Holy Week’s moving and solemn nature means that both believers and non-believers are deeply touched by the passing of the silent processions, accompanied by the wounding sound of cornets and by the deep rhythm of drums. The habits and pointed hoods hiding the brotherhood members’ identity stresses the processions’ dramatic nature even further.
Among Compostela’s processions, the “Nuestro Padre Jesús Flagelado” one (popularly known as the “Caladiños Descalzos” procession) that is held on Holy Thursday stands out. Its penitential character is highlighted by the heavy crosses carried by the brotherhood members and by the long chains dragged by their bare feet. Also very popular is the “Santísimo Cristo de la Misericordia” or “Santísimo Cristo de los Estudiantes” procession, which is held on Holy Wednesday.
Main events during Holy Week:
“Procesión de los Dolores”. Monumental quarter, 9 pm.
“Entrada Triunfal de Jesús en Jerusalén (de la Borriquita)” Procession. Monumental quarter, 11.30 am.
Blessing of Palms. Plaza de la Quintana, 11.30 am.
Chrism Mass (Blessing of Holy Oil). Cathedral, 12 noon.
“Santísimo Cristo de la Misericordia” Procession. Monumental quarter, 9 pm.
Stations of the Cross. Monumental quarter, 8.30 pm.
“Santísimo Cristo de la Misericordia” Procession. Monumental quarter, 11 pm.
Mass of Lord’s Supper and Lavabo Ceremony. Cathedral, 6 pm.
“Última Cena del Salvador” Procession. Monumental quarter, 7.30 pm.
“Nuestro Padre Jesús Flagelado” Procession. Monumental quarter, 11.30 pm.
“Sermón del Encuentro”. Plaza de la Quintana, 11 am.
“Procesión del Encuentro”. Monumental quarter, 11.30 am.
Sacrament of Penitence. Cathedral, 12 noon.
“Sermón de la Siete Palabras”. Capilla General de Ánimas (chapel), 12 noon.
Liturgical Services: The Lord’s Passion. Cathedral, 6 pm.
“Nuestra Señora de la Quinta Angustia” Procession. Monumental quarter, 6 pm.
“Procesión del Santo Entierro”. Monumental quarter, 8 pm.
“Procesión de la Santísima Virgen de la Soledad”. Monumental quarter, 11 pm.
Stations of the Cross and “Sermón de la Soledad”. Capilla General de Ánimas (chapel), 6 pm.
“Procesión del Santo Cristo de la Unción y Nuestra Señora de la Serenidad”. Monumental quarter, 8 pm.
Easter Vigil. Church of Santo Domingo de Bonaval, 8 pm.
Easter Vigil. Cathedral, 10 pm.
Lauds. “Botafumeiro”. Cathedral, 9.45 am.
Seasonal Mass / Papal Blessing. Cathedral, 10.15 am.
Following Sunday, “Dominica in Albis”
“Procesión del Santísimo Cristo de la Paciencia”, 11 am.
An interesting series of sacred music concerts are held in the evening during these days, in the churches of San Domingos de Bonaval and San Agustín.
Phone: +34 981 555 129