Spain is known for Holy Week processions, which run throughout the last week of Lent.
The processions can last up to 14 hours in some towns. Even the smallest, contain at least two intensely adorned ‘floats’, one of the Virgin and the other of a scene from Christ’s Passion.
The statues are extremely ornate & lavishly decorated, borne on heavy wooden platforms.
These platforms are carried by 40-50 men called costaleros, (pallbearers) who haul the float on their shoulders and control the swaying motion, as it slowly passes before the crowd accompanied by the music of brass and drums.
The music combines with the sheer emotion of the event & religious or not, it is difficult not to be moved.
Impossible to miss are the seemingly endless rows of nazarenos, or penitents, who walk along with the float (wearing conical hoods called Capriote ).
The penitents cover their faces with the hoods in order to publicly repent without being identified, in a tradition dating back to the 15th Century.
You may even see many nazarenos walking barefoot, which is impressive bearing in mind how long these processions last!
Holy Week processions take place throughout Spain, with regional processions in Seville, Andalusia and Málaga being the most famous.