Spanish culture is steeped in deeply rooted traditions and rituals that often offer unforgettable and heartfelt scenes at specific times of year. Easter in the South of Spain is undoubtedly one of those times.
Holy Week (Semana Santa) falls between Sunday April 9th and Saturday April 15th this year and will transform the province into a magical setting from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday. Easter in Spain brings communities together in a dazzling display of lights, music and religious processions, centred around traditions and rituals that have had their place in the region since the 16th century.
While every provincial town hosts its own celebrations and religious processions of varying scales, Malaga especially erupts with vibrancy and a slew of coordinated events full of life and vitality, mournful trumpets and drums and saeta's improvised from balconies. Incense scented streets will fill with processions of highly decorated floats, huge iconic statues and a mass of people in their costume finery.
The religious processions differ slightly from region to region but are always centred around elaborately adorned floats with Jesus and Mary statues, followed by groups of Nazarenes (penitents) wearing pointy hoods and white robes and shrill brass bands. The floats are traditionally carried by hundreds of chosen 'cofradías' from their parish church to the cathedral and back. Crowds of people will line the plazas, streets and surrounding balconies to watch them go by with family and friends, sipping drinks and eating tapas. While it is still considered among locals a great honour to be involved in these processions, with roles often handed down through generations, in modern times they are seen more as a coming together and ritualistic social gathering, rather than a highly religious one.
Outside of Malaga's city lights, the Semana Santa vibe can be felt all along the Costa del Sol, as villages and towns of every size have their own celebrations and most of the bars, cafes and restaurants that may have closed over the quieter winter months have reopened and will be bustling with families and friends enjoying the mild temperatures of Spring by the Mediterranean Sea.
Average temperatures over April and May on the Costa del Sol range between 17-23°C and Spring is generally a much quieter and more relaxed time period to spend in the region, making it arguably the best time to enjoy everything that it has to offer. Read our 'Spring on the Costa del Sol' post for further suggestions on things to do during this time by the sunny Spanish coastline.