Holy Week (Easter) – Nerja 2018

With the 1st full moon of Spring, the Semana Santa starts in Nerja and the whole of Spain. This is the reason it is celebrated on different dates every year. Semana Santa is Holy Week and is celebrated the week before Easter Sunday. However, it is celebrated in a very different manner, so forget the Easter eggs and get ready to live a very traditional experience.

Semana Santa in Nerja, as with most of the towns in Andalucia, revolves around liturgical acts. These events clearly represent our Christian traditions and our passion for the resurrection of Christ. The processions are, without a shadow of a doubt, the best way to represent this passion. They are genuinely a must see.

In Nerja, the liturgical acts are celebrated in the following churches:

  • San Miguel
  • El Salvador
  • Ermita de Nuestra Señora de las Angustias

At different times (depending on the church) the liturgical assets are held inside the parish. These assets represent the passion of Christ.
Semana Santa begins on “domingo de ramos” (25-03-2018) and finishes on “domingo de resurreción” (01-04-2018). In English these days are known as Palm Sunday and Resurrection Sunday respectively. Although most of you probably call the latter Easter.

It’s a week full of moments of worship, prayers, processions, and meditation.

A week where the local gastronomy stays highly traditional: fried cod, cod omelettes, chickpea soup, “torrijas”, “pestiños” and “roscos”. These last three are traditional cakes that come in different shapes and sizes, my personal favourite being the “roscos” which are like mini doughnuts made with wine. As you may have noticed, meat is absent from the menu because Christian tradition says that you can’t eat meat on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday or any of the days of passion.

Semana Santa Nerja Principal

Domingo de Ramos, Palm Sunday – 25/03/18

A day of happiness and joy. It represents the great entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, where he was greeted with olive branches and palms whilst riding his donkey.
In Nerja it is celebrated in the aforementioned churches.

  • In San Miguel church you can witness a Blessing of Palms, which is accompanied by a mass that commemorates Jesus’ actions on that day.
  • You can witness another Blessing of Palms in the Ermita de Nuestra Señora de las Angustias at 11:30am. A procession begins here and will pass through Angustias street, Pintada street and the magnificent Balcón de Europa. The procession finishes when it arrives at El Salvador church, where it is expected to arrive at around 12 o’clock. Here another holy mass will be held.

Make the most out of your time in Nerja and check out **what to do and things to see in Nerja**. It doesn’t all have to be about Semana Santa.

Martes Santo, Holy Tuesday – 27/03/18

Viacrucis Nerja
Vía crucis

There are no processions planned for this day. However, a Via Crucis is organized by San Miguel church, which is celebrated in the neighbouring streets. The Via Crucis is made up of 15 Stations. Each one of the Via Crucis’ Stations are fragments of the Passion of Jesus Christ, and are accompanied by allegorical songs and prayers.

These Stations can be found at “Plaza Andalucía”, which is the square where the church is located and on the following streets: “María Muñoz”, “Herrera Oria”, “Ruperto Anduez”, “San Juan”, “Colón”, “Cervantes”, “Méndez Núñez”, “Alejandro Bueno”, “Cristo”, “Chile”, and “Costa Rica”. A final Station is located at “Plaza Cantarero”, a nice little square with a number of cafés.

Miércoles Santo, Holy Wednesday – 28/03/18

Miercoles Santo en Nerja
Miércoles Santo

The first procession with the image of Christ is held on Holy Wednesday at around 7:30pm. Organized by local parishes “Nuestro Padre Jesus Cautivo” & “María Santísima de los Desamparados”.

The penitents of these groups wear white tunics, and white or blue capes depending on their role. They also wear white conical hats, a tradition for this week. It is worth mentioning that the “María Santísima de los Desamparados” throne is lifted exclusively by women.

Simple words cannot explain what these people wear, what they do, or how they do it. You really do need to see it for yourself.

Route: Exit from El Salvador church, then passing through the Balcón de Europa and the following streets: “Puerta del Mar”, “Pintada”, “Angustias”, “Ermita” (square), “Granada”, “Puerta del Mar”. Finally, it will enter El Salvador church.

The best place to be is usually Plaza Ermita, a square where both thrones meet and are accompanied by sacred songs.

Jueves Santo, Maundy Thursday – 29/03/18

Jueves Santo en Nerja
Jueves Santo

On this day, the liturgical acts begin with a holy mass which commemorates the last supper. This act is represented in San Miguel and El Salvador church, at 5pm.

Later on, at 9pm a procession will start from El Salvador church. On this occasion, the thrones on show will be “Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno” and “María Santísima de la Esperanza”. Organized by the oldest brotherhood in Nerja, their penitents wear purple tunics and white conical hats. This brotherhood is also the one in charge of the procession on Good Friday.

Route: Exit from El Salvador, passing through the following streets: “Puerta del Mar”, “Pintada”, “Méndez Núñez”, “Bronce”, “La Cruz”, “Animas”, “Granada” and “Carmen”. It will then return to El Salvador church. Just before arriving to the church it will pass by a small square known as “Plaza Cavana”, here you can grab a beverage or a bite to eat.

The thrones will be accompanied by the local band, who always put on a fantastic show. On this occasion we also have the chance to listen to the “Unión Musical de Serón”, a band from Almería.

At 11pm we celebrate Holy Hour whilst paying our respects to the assets found inside El Salvador church.

Viernes Santo, Good Friday – 30/03/18

Viernes - Semana Santa
Viernes Santo

The day begins with the sermon of “The Seven Words”, at 1pm in El Salvador church.
Later on, at 5pm two different events take place:

    • El Salvador church: Service of the Death of the Lord.
    • San Miguel church: Service of the Passion of the Lord.

Just as on Thursday, at 9pm a procession will take place with the image of “Santo Entierro” (Holy Burial) and María Santísima de los Dolores (Virgin Mary). The penitents wear purple tunics and black conical hats.

Route: Exit from El Salvador, passing through the following streets: “Puerta del Mar”, “Pintada”, “Méndez Núñez”, “Bronce”, “La Cruz”, “Animas”, “Granada”, and “Carmen”. Returning to El Salvador church. As with before, the procession is visible from “Plaza Cantarero” and “Plaza Cavana”, fantastic squares with plenty of cafés.

Accompanied on this occasion by “Dulce Nombre de Jesús” a band from Jaén, and of course, our local band.

Sábado Santo – 31/03/18

No processions are planned for this day. However, numerous liturgical events are planned:

  • Between 10am and 7pm in Ermita de Nuestra Señora de las Angustias you can pay your respects by foot-kissing the asset here found.
  • Easter Vigil Mass. For Christians, this vigil is the mother of all vigils. A day when we commemorate the resurrection of Christ.
    • 8:30pm at San Miguel church.
    • 11pm at El Salvador church.

Domingo de Resurrección, Easter – 01/04/18

Domingo de resurreccion
Domingo de Resurrección

t’s a day of joy and celebration because life wins over death. The base of our Christian beliefs.

A local brotherhood organizes a procession that begin at El Salvador church. The sacred thrones this time around are: “Jesús Resucitado” (Jesus Resurrected) and “María Santísima
de la Asunción (Virgin Mary). Also, the Victory Cross, which is carried exclusively by women. On this occasion the penitents wear white tunics and conical hats, plus a red cape.

Route: Exit from El Salvador, passing through the following streets: “Puerta del Mar”, “Pintada”, “Arropieros”, “Huertos”, “Frigiliana”, “Carretas”, “Pintada”, “Angustia”, “Granada”, and “Carmen”. It will then return to El Salvador church.

Semana Santa Dictionary

  • Procession: Organized by brotherhoods, they pay their respects to the Lord and Virgin Mary by lifting their image and exhibiting it all around town. Usually accompanied by musical bands, where the drums and cornets are the stars of the show. The members of the brotherhood must dress as instructed and wear insignias of the brotherhood.
  • Throne: Altar made out of carved wood with religious allegories and a sacred image. It is the focus point of all processions. Lifted on the shoulder of either women or men, they are often decorated with flowers and candles.
  • Penintens & Nazarene: Member of a brotherhood who takes part in the procession and uses a very specific outfit. Normally the outfit consists of: capes, tunics, cords, conical hats and a medal that represents their brotherhood. The coloring varies depending on the brotherhood.
  • “Mantilla”: A typical dress that women wear during religious acts throughout Spain. It’s a black lace dress that doesn’t show much: it covers your knees, your elbows, and chest area. A specific comb is also worn.
  • “Saeta”: A sacred song that is performed towards the sacred images. Full of passion and devotion.
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