[22-31 March 2024]
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 and sacred and ancient music concerts.
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 13 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.
Interesting sacred an ancient music concerts are held in the evening during these days in the churches.
+ Info: Semanasantasantiago.com