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.


CBBH Photo Challenge: AFTER THE RAIN

All the time I was searching out my choice of photographs for this month’s CBBH Challenge, a song kept running through my head:

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favourite things

….and the more I thought about it,  the more I realised it’s true - I do love to see raindrops on flowers after the rain.

But extremes of weather often make the TV news,  and the UK in particular has been battered by storms and flooding over the past months, so your interpretation of AFTER THE RAIN might be very different from mine – and that’s where the fun begins.

For the CBBH Photo Challenge during March I want you to post images of your experience, AFTER THE RAIN.

Raindrops on a pepper tree

This is the graceful False Pepper tree (Latin Name: Schinus molle) in my garden, with its clusters of pink peppercorns.   I’ve think I’ve read somewhere that the peppercorns are edible in moderation, but I’ve never been brave enough to try them.

Besides, they look great, just where they are …. especially after the rain, when the raindrops clinging to them are of similar size.

Raindrops on purple flower

I’m a huge fan of the colour purple, so this plant is a favourite, too, but until this morning I didn’t know what it was called.  Thanks to the power of the internet, and my lovely readers, Trish and Maggie I can now tell you that this is Hardenbergia comptoniana, a native of Australia.  This vigorous climbing plant has scrambled along a rocky ledge and entwined itself in one of the almond trees on the bank above the house.  Thanks for putting me out of my misery, ladies :)

I love the elegant arching purple flowers, which are even more beautiful after the rain.

Raindrops on lemon

My final photo for this month’s challenge is of the raindrops clinging to one of the fruits on the lemon tree.  I never fail to be delighted at being able to nip outside, at almost any time of year, and pluck a fragrant lemon from the tree.

So now it’s YOUR turn.

Don’t forget that the CBBH Photo Challenge is a little different from some other challenges, in two ways.  First, it’s only once a month – giving you lots of time to consider your entry before the end of the calendar month.  Second, and most important, this is a BLOG HOP (after all, it is the CBBH – Conejo Blanco Blog Hop, conejo blanco means white rabbit in Spanish), so DON’T FORGET that in your post you need to add links to two blogs that you have visited and commented on during the past month.  That way, when we visit each other, we can HOP OVER to your links, connect with others and share a little blog love around!

Conejo Blanco BLOG HOP Photo Challenge

My Featured Blog Links for this month:

*** Hola Yessica follows the adventures of Jessica who grew up in California, but now lives in beautiful Barcelona.  If you’re looking to discover the very best of what the Catalan capital has to offer, then Jessica’s your girl!  Her new video series, “My Barcelona” includes insights as to why football really is a religious experience in Barcelona and explores the fabulous street art around the city.

*** The best way to appreciate the culture of any area is through its food and its wine.  And nowhere is that truer than in Annie B’s Spanish Kitchen.  Annie shares the delights of living in Vejer de la Frontera in southern Spain, and offers  Spanish recipes and cooking tips.  You’ll love her easy chocolate and almond cake or, if you are looking for a delicious Moroccan dish, then try Annie’s Chickpea, Orange and Mint salad.   Mmmmm …. delicious!

Please HOP over and say HELLO to both of my featured links, and tell them Marianne sent you!

So that´s the CBBH Photo Challenge for March, folks.

Remember, all you have to do is post your entry by the end of the month, tag your entry ‘CBBH Photo Challenge’,  link back to this blog and, most importantlydon´t forget to add links to any two blogs that you´ve commented on during the past month, so that we can all HOP OVER and have a look.  Make sure you FOLLOW THIS BLOG so you don´t miss next month’s exciting challenge!

For more information on how the CBBH Photo Challenge works click here.

I hope everyone taking part enjoys the exposure the CBBH Photo Challenge offers to featured blogs and, who knows, you may end up finding a new favourite!  I´m looking forward to seeing your interpretations.

[CBBH logo Image credit: (cc) Mostly Dans]

….. 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?