Semana Santa: Not only in Seville and Málaga

Good Friday procession, Competa, Spain

From today until April 20th, one of the biggest festivals of the year in Spain is upon us - Semana Santa (Holy Week).  

Andalucía is well known for the many huge processions taking place each day (and throughout the night), particularly in the cities of Seville and Málaga.

But in even the smallest of white villages throughout La Axarquía, evidence of devotion and penitence can be seen, as religious effigies are squeezed through the often steep, narrow streets.

The images are very powerful as the life-sized religious figures set onto ornate tronos (floats or thrones) sway in time to the slow thud of the drums marking their beat.

The colourfully-robed, hooded penitents of the various Brotherhoods make their way through the streets accompanied by the solemn wail of the trumpets of the local municipal band.

Semana Santa is a festival to be perceived through all the senses. 

You can almost taste the overpowering aroma of incense and flowers filling the air as the processions pass by.   No matter the time of day or night, villagers will congregate on street corners, steps, or hang over their balconies to see and sometimes applaud or cry out to their favourite tronos, often reaching out to touch the display as it mesmerisingly sways past them.

Make no mistake, you don’t need to be a religious person to be deeply moved or feel the passion of Semana Santa.

After all – THIS IS SPAIN!


EDITED TO ADD:  After I posted the video yesterday of the Semana Santa processions in Malaga, I was reminded by Gilly, Cristina and Gemma‘s comments to tell you about the hoods that are worn (some conical and some not).   It IS important to know the origin.  Thanks ladies :)

A common feature of Semana Santa is the Nazareno or penitential robe for some of the participants in the processions.

This garment consists in a tunic, a hood with conical tip (known as a capirote) used to conceal the face of the wearer, and sometimes a cloak.  The exact colours and forms of these robes depend on the particular procession.

The robes were widely used in medieval times for penitents, who could demonstrate their penance while still masking their identity.

Sadly, even though these robes and hoods have been used for hundreds of years in this way, they were “hi-jacked” by the Klu Klux Klan in the late 1860s – for which they are more “well-known” outside of Spain.  

More’s the pity.


….. and then a Dung Beetle rolled by!

Dung beetle, Spain

I’ve only ever seen a dung beetle on TV in a wildlife documentary programme.

Imagine my surprise when I saw this little chap, rolling his ball of poop in my garden, last Sunday afternoon!

The moral of this tale?  If you’re having a bad day, just remember – you are not this dung beetle with sh** all over your head!

If you’ve never seen a dung beetle doing what dung beetles do – here’s a YouTube video for you.


What’s the most curious thing you’ve seen recently?


VOTE, VOTE, VOTE for David against Goliath!

Cómpeta, Andalucía, Spain

OK, OK …. I admit, it’s not really for David – it’s for ME!  But we ALL love an underdog, don’t we?  :)

In my analogy, Goliath is a professional photographer currently leading the vote in a photographic competition I have entered on Facebook.   So, even though I AM that underdog, I’m running a close second, only a few “Likes” behind, but with only five more days left to vote.


If you are logged into your FB account, click on the photo above (it’s of my home village of Cómpeta) and you will be taken through to to my voting page.  All you need to do is LIKE and COMMENT on that post.

THE PRIZE is a day trip for 4 people (with lunch), to one of the most picturesque parts of Andalucía along a scenic train line known as Mr Henderson’s Railway - a British-built Victorian train line from Algeciras to Ronda.

If I’m lucky enough to win this competition, there are two further benefits:

1.   I will SHARE MY PRIZE by inviting two local bloggers to join me for the day.

2.   You will be able to read all about my trip in a blog post, where I will include lots of lovely photos.

Will you help me to share the joy by voting for my photograph?  

Thank you.

EDITED TO ADD:    So many of you clicked through to my photograph and added your vote that I am delighted (and amazed) to tell you that David did indeed defeat Goliath.  I WON!  I have invited two local bloggers to join me and sometime over the next three months we will be enjoying the prize of a trip on Mr Henderson’s Railway.  I’ll let you know all about it.    Thank you to each and every one of you who took the time to vote.  I am truly grateful for your continuing support.  You are AMAZING!

The First Almond Blossoms of the Year

First almond blossom in Andalucia, 2014

We’ve had to wait two weeks longer than usual in our garden, but they’re finally here ….. the first almond blossoms of 2014.

Flowering time: Early January to end of February.

Which flower do you always look forward to seeing in the garden?

Related articles:

A Year in the Life of an Almond Tree – Andalucían Style!

Pretty in Pink: The Almond Blossom of Andalucía