Santiago de Compostela is the finishing point for all routes on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. If you happen to find yourself at Holy Week in Santiago de Compostela you might be wondering what exactly is going on? What you’re likely to find is: streets full of people, seats set up for spectators, a lot of rather interestingly dressed folk and an air of solemnity about the city.
Easter processions in Spain are quite the spectacle. A tradition that dates back to the 16th Century, processions take place in the week leading up to Easter Sunday, known locally as Semana Santa (Holy Week in English). During the processions, members of religious brotherhoods walk the streets dressed in penitential robes characterised by a large conical mask which covers all but the eyes of the wearer. The hood is designed to protect the identity of the wearer as they repent their sins. They may be seen carrying processional candles, wooden crosses, or even walking the streets barefoot, and, in some places may carry shackles and chains on their feet as penance. Whether you’re religious or not, Easter time in Santiago is a spectacular sight worth seeing.
Here’s a selection of processions and events during Holy Week in Santiago de Compostela 2016
Friday 18th March 2016
21:00h – Procession of ‘La Virgen de los Dolores’ – Starts at: Church of San Miguel dos Argos.
Palm Sunday 20th March 2016
On Palm Sunday, you’ll see locals carrying branches of trees in their hands, these are in commemoration of the palm branches that were scattered in front of Jesus as he rode into Jerusalem.
10:45h – Procession of the entry into Jerusalem; starts at: Church of la Orden Franciscana Seglar.
11:30h – Procession of ‘La Borriquita’, procession of the little donkey; blessing of the branches and palms. Starts at: Plaza de A Quintana.
18:00h – Procession of ‘La Esperanza’. Starts at: Praza das Ánimas.
You might notice that the members of this procession are on the miniature side. This is because the Procession of La Esperanza, or the procession of ‘hope’, in English is a children’s procession, those carrying the float are young girls.
Monday 21st March 2016
21:30h – Procession of ‘La humildad’ (humility). Starts at: Church of Santa María do Camiño.
Holy Tuesday 22nd March 2016
21:00h – Procession of ‘Santísimo Cristo de la Paciencia’ (of the patient Christ). Starts at: Convento de Madres Mercedarias.
22:30h – Procession of ‘La Oración del Huerto y Prendimiento’ (Jesus praying and captured). Starts at: Campiño de San Francisco.
Wednesday 23rd March 2016
19:30h – Way of the Cross. Starts at: Campiño de San Francisco.
23:00h – Procession of ‘Los Estudiantes’, the students procession. Starts at: Church of Orfas.
Holy Thursday 24th March 2016
18:00h – Mass of the Lord’s Supper – Location: Catedral de Santiago.
19:00h – Procession of ‘La última cena del Salvador’, the last supper. Starts at: Campiño de San Francisco.
23:30h – Procession of ‘Jesús Flagelado’. Starts at: Praza de Santo Agostiño.
Good Friday 25th March 2016
10:30h – Procession of the Holy Encounter. Starts at: Church of San Miguel dos Argos.
18:00h – Passion of Christ Mass with the Archbishop. Location: Catedral de Santiago.
18:00h – Procession of ‘La Quinta Angustia”. Starts at: Church of Nuestra Señora de la Quina Angustia.
20:00h – Procession of ‘El Santo Entierro” (the holy burial). Starts at: Church of San Domingos de Bonaval.
23:00h – Procession of ‘La Virgen de la Soledad” (our lady of solitude). Starts at: Church of Santa María Salomé.
Holy Saturday 26th March 2016
20:00h – Procession of ‘Los Hermanos’. Starts at: School of La Inmaculada.
Easter Sunday 27th March 2016
10:30h – Procession of ‘El Cristo Resucitado’ (resurrection). Starts at: Church of San Francisco.
11.15h – Procession and Encounter with Christ the Resurrected. Starts at: Plaza de A Quintana.
Sunday 3rd April 2016
11.00h – Procession of ‘El Santísimo Cristo de la Paciencia’. Starts at: Praza do Obradoiro.
For full listings on everything going on during Easter in Santiago de Compostela, you can visit: https://www.santiagoturismo.com/semana-santa. For full mass listings at Easter time in Santiago (in Spanish), visit the Cathedral’s website: http://www.catedraldesantiago.es/es/cuaresma-2016
*Pictures courtesy of Turismo de Santiago.
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