Celebrate Easter in Alicante and Murcia
Easter Week is an important time throughout Spain. The holy week of Semana Santa, from Palm Sunday to Easter Monday, marks the last week of Jesus’ life and his subsequent Resurrection. Throughout Alicante Province and the Region of Murcia most towns and cities hold multiple processions daily. Alicante City alone holds 28 street processions throughout the week.
Dating back to medieval times, the processions are rooted in tradition and spirituality and the period is a mixture of quiet reflection and outright celebration. For example, Palm Sunday marks the triumphant arrival of Jesus into Jerusalem. Florists stock palm leaves which are weaved into decorations as families come together in the evening to celebrate with parades and music. In contrast, The Parade of Silences is a sombre occasion representing the point in time after Jesus’ betrayal and capture. Street lights are switched off and a silent march winds through the streets.
One of the most iconic sights of Semana Santa is that of the Nazarenos (depicting the people of Nazareth) in their long gowns, tall hats and with only their eyes on show. The covering of the face symbolises mourning and also the shame of sins committed in the preceding year. Comprised of local brotherhoods, the Nazarenos have different robes according to their church. These eerie figures move slowly through the streets, often carrying candles and wafting incense as they go.
Depending on where in Alicante or Murcia you find yourself during Semana Santa, celebrations will vary, and, if you can, it’s good to experience a little of what each city has to offer. In Cartagena, huge wooden sculptures (‘pasos’) depicting the passion of the Christ are carried aloft by pall-bearers through the narrow streets. At the procession of the Hallelujahs in Elche, the locals celebrate the resurrection of Christ by throwing coloured confetti into the air. In Murcia City, the Nazarenos hand out sweets to onlookers lining the streets. On Easter Friday, ‘Egyptians’ and ‘Romans’ parade through the streets of Lorca atop horses and chariots: this is regarded as one of the highlights of Holy Week in this part of Spain. All the cities mentioned are within a 90-minute drive of Drivalia Car Hire and Alicante Airport.
This year (2013), Palm Sunday falls on March 24th and Easter Monday is on April 1st: this is a public holiday in some areas. Please keep an eye on our Facebook page for information about the week’s events as programmes are published.
For a taste of what’s to come see last year’s programme for Murcia on the Murcia Today site.