Many travelers usually visit only the major cities of Andalusia such as Seville, Malaga, Cordoba, or Granada. But turning to the depths of the region, one can find unique, time-frozen towns and see breathtaking traditions.
Little Villages and Their Traditions
It is worth visiting the typical Andalusian villages such as Antequera. White houses, church towers, tiled roofs, a Moorish castle rising on a hill. There are olive groves and orchards around the villages. The Andalusians themselves are very religious. As a result, the Easter is celebrated in a very impressive way and everything seems differently here than in other Christian countries around Europe. It might be claimed that Easter is more important here than Christmas.
The Holy Week or as it is called in Spanish “Semana Santa” begins on Palm Sunday and ends on Easter Sunday. Every day, except Saturday, festive processions travel through the streets. During those processions, the special thrones are carried. These thrones are giant stretchers with church sculptures depicting The Virgin Mary, Jesus, and other biblical figures and scenes related to the Easter. The thrones are adorned with gilded wood carvings, the sculptures are decorated with gold, precious stones, the fabrics are embroidered with silver, and there are plenty of flowers and expensive candlesticks. It is necessary to mention that such thrones are very heavy, but they are always carried by people.
During the Holy Week, the procession leaves the main church and bypasses the village or town on the chosen route. Traveling through the narrow streets, the procession turns to the most important squares of the city and each pass through the central street of the city, which is equipped with stands for honorable guests. Because the gait moves slowly, it can be met in several places. Some local people do not leave the house and watch the processions through the balconies and windows of their homes.
The process takes 4-6 hours. Perhaps the most impressive moments of the procession are the removal of the thrones from the church and the return. In each procession there are three thrones. Several churches do this on Easter Thursday and Good Friday. Three processions travel through the city at the same time, meeting around midnight. Each throne is accompanied by wind orchestras, drummers, and a large church community that adorns the procession with spectacular clothing. These clothes are family relics inherited from generation to generation.
More than a hundred men carry one throne. The man in charge of them is called Insignia. This man is elected by the community, and the place of the carrier of the throne is inherited. Newcomers who want to join the community of carriers and participate in the procession must donate a lot of money to the church and pay a monthly fee. Each church has its own community. A special participant in the procession is a child dressed in a long tunic embroidered with gold and precious stones. This girl or boy carries a silver bell, the ringing of which notifies when the procession needs to stop to rest or continue the journey again.