Spanish version

Holy Week


The Processions have its origin in :

  • the Passion of the Christ as related in the Gospels. The processions symbolize differents events image of Jesus el Pobretaking place from Jesus´ entry into Jerusalem through to  his resurrection;

  • the Passover celebrated by the Jews. This is clear if we take into account that its celebration follows the moon phases calendar. Passover was commemorated on the first month of the Jewish year, i.e. in Spring, on the first night with full moon. It is believed that Jesus and his apostles celebrated Passover during the Last Supper on a Thursday. So, Holy Week is usually in March or April, depending on the moon phases which last 28 days, while our calendar is based on the sun, and the phases last 30 days;

  • the Inquisition; when somebody was found guilty by it, the condemned had to expiate their sins with penance and their heads were always covered by a pointed hood, like those worn by the Klu-Klux-Klan. These hoods are called "capirote".accesories

  • other pagan events which celebrated the victory of life over death (Spring over Winter). These celebrations also had a religious aspect;

Processions have been part of our life since the beginning of mankind. They are a way of thanking, of remembering or of celebrating.


The images that take part in a Procession are called "pasos". This word has its origin in the Latin word "passus", which means scene but also suffering. A "paso" refers to the image and the carriage.
A "paso" can be of just one image or a group of them.
These images are sometimes complete figures, but others are just the face and hands on a frame.
wax flowersThe carriages can be mounted on wheels usually pushed by the "cofrades" or carried by them directly. Sometimes the "paso" has two lateral bars and the "cofrades" walk on both sides of it carrying it on their shoulders.
Others are below the image and cannot be seen.They carry the weight on their neck and spine.
"Cofrades" are the members of a "cofradia", which is a brotherhood ("hermandad") that takes part in a Procession. This means that all cofradias are hermandades, but not all hermandades are cofradias.
These brotherhoods are in charge of the Processions, but they also take care of many other activities, like looking after emigrants, children and other social activities.

Christ´s images are usually dressed in red or purple. Red as a symbol of the Passion and purple of Penance.

The Virgin Mary images are dressed in white (purity) and black (sorrow).Our Lady of Sorrows

Our Lady of Sorrows (Virgen de los Dolores) usually has a heart crossed by seven swords: three symbolize her sorrows when Jesus was a child (his birth, when they fled to Egypt and when he was lost) and four for those she suffered when he was an adult (his Calvary, the Crucifixion, his death and burial).

The famous image of the Virgin Macarena has white flowers made of wax, which are a real masterpiece.

At the Processions we can see four candles which symbolize the four gospels.

The carriages have several legs which are called zancos, the stretcher is called parihuela and the ventilation holes are mariguetas.

If the carriage is on a portable platform with bars the carriers are called "anderos". If they carry it on their shoulders they are called "costaleros".

If you want to know more: Processions. History.

If you want to see more photos, click here.

@Copyright 2008, 2009 Mª Dolores Diehl Busch. All rights reserved.
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