Spain's Holy Week processions engage masses

  • La Borriquita, a Sevillian brotherhood that is for children and teens, is the first to march on Palm Sunday, and features a paso with Jesus' entry into Jerusalem. In 2016, rain delayed the procession until evening.
  • La Estrella (the Star) confraternity begins its procession across the bridge to the center city of Seville.
  • The Holy Wednesday procession of the brotherhood de Nuestro Padre Jesús en la Columna y María Santísima de la Esperanza — Our Father Jesus at the Column and Most Holy Mary of Hope — passes through the center of Ronda.
  • The image of the Blood of the Most Holy Christ and of Our Lady of Great Sorrows, Holy Wednesday, Ronda, Spain.
  • Spaniards dress finely for the processions on Palm Sunday and Holy Thursday. Some Sevillians have been reviving the tradition of wearing black and mantillas on Holy Thursday.

In many cities in Spain, and elsewhere in the Iberian-influenced world, Semana Santa — Holy Week — is marked by major public processions that recount and ritualize the events of the Passion, providing a visual catechism and giving the masses a chance to participate in the story. In Spain, cities compete to some degree as a point of pride to carry out their processions well, and each has its own feel and particular qualities. 


Holy Week processions often are said to deeply engage Catholics who are not frequent Mass attendees, but see the processional celebrations as an important manifestation of their belief.