Experience Easter (Holy Week) in Malaga like a local!
Easter week in Málaga (in Spanish: Semana Santa which translates as Holy Week) with is one of the major events of the year in Malaga. This centuries old tradition is a key part of the identity of the city, and you can notice it right away, no matter what is exactly the easter definition catholic or what time of year that are here as the brotherhoods in semana santa (the associations in charge of organizing the processions) have their own buildings dotted all around the city (easily recognized by their giant doors!).
The Holy week, Semana Santa, is marked on the calendar of every Malagueño: this year it will take place between March 25th and April 1st. Every day, there are lots of processions to see, so if you want to keep up you’ll need an itinerary. Itineraries can be picked up at the tourist office as well as in many local stores such as bakeries and pharmacies. Typical food of the Holy Week that you simply must try are the delicious torrijas (similar to French toast) or be amazazed by la medalla Virgen del Carmen. Another ‘food’ tradition is to “suck on a lemon”. All along the procession routes, you will see stands at the side of the street selling oversized lemons, which are cut open for you and served with salt.
Must see processions:
Palm Sunday: According to the tradition, you have to wear brand new clothes for the occasion. You’ll see kids around the city waving palms when the very first procession of the week ‒La Pollinica‒ passes by.
Holy Monday: On Monday you can see the most popular procession in the city, El Cautivo, a.k.a. the Lord of Malaga. Its iconic image is everywhere in the city, and thousands of Malagueños follow the procession.
Maundy Thursday: One of the most spectacular moments for the locals is the procession of Mena, which is carried out by the Legion, an elite division of the Spanish Army that disembark in the port of Malaga the previous day.
Good Friday: This day the brotherhoods grieve the death of Jesus. Don’t miss the solemn Servitas procession which starts around midnight, the street lights are turned off as the procession goes by.
All this can be a little bit overwhelming, so if at some point you want to stay away from all the frenzy, why not rent a bike and cycle away from the centre? Head out east or west along the coast to relax and enjoy the beaches and chiringuitos of Malaga, which are usually quiet this time of the year.
If you need to get anything done in the city centre from Monday to Friday (other than watch processions!), you HAVE to do everything in the mornings, because in the afternoons it’s show time. The processions start around 3 p.m. and some finish as late as 5 or 6 o’clock in the morning! With between 5 and 10 processions happening every day, the streets are completely taken over and it is very difficult to move around the city. Plus, most businesses close in the afternoons and Thursday and Friday are public holidays, when all shops will close. So, if you looking for other things to do in Malaga during Easter and you want to get to know the city, the most fun and quickest way is by joining a bike tour with Malaga Bike Tours!