Semana Santa is referred to as one of the most important and unique religious festivals in Spain. Lorca Holy Week, was declared a ‘Festival of International Tourist Interest’ in 2007 & to find out why, I thought I would attend and do some research as to the history.
So what is Semana Santa?
Probably the biggest religious festival in Spain. Most towns have the traditional Semana Santa (Easter week) parades. We went to Puerto Lumbreras last year & were impressed, see the blog here: Puerto Lumbreras
With traditional Statues of the ‘Passion of Christ‘ carried on large platforms by 40-50 ‘Los Costaleros‘ (Pallbearers) as they sway slowly often negotiating tight bends in the road in the peak of the day’s heat.
Along side, walk the penitents ‘Nazarenos‘ in their large conical hoods (which are called a ‘Capriote’). They cover their faces so that they can repent without being identified. This is a tradition dating back to the 15th Century.
” So what makes Lorca different?”
Lorca, is definitely the most well known in this region and definitely the largest & most magnificent.
The Holy Week Brotherhoods (“Virgen de la Amargura” patron saint of the White Brotherhood, and the “Virgen de los Dolores” patron saint of the Blue Brotherhood) is a concept which has been adapted over time, to become “Paso Azul” and “Paso Blanco” which give the event a competitive edge with the crowds roaring the participants on. There are two smaller/newer groups ‘Paso Morado’ & ‘Paso Negro’
The Brotherhood reorganized itself in 1753, when it organized a Good Friday procession with the participation of images of a Nazarene.
The original color was purple with a shield & an eagle holding a rosary on a red background. The shield had a crown of gold & red, below the shield there were some gold branches.
In the 19th Century they changed their colour to white
Their banner is ‘The Relection’ a representation of the face of the Virgin’s original image, which is known to have been hidden during the Civil War & it has not yet been found.
Lorca is dedicated to the amazing handmade silk and gold embroidery that both the riders and horses wear. The embroidery on show during Semana Santa is unique. Apparently some of its pieces have received Spain’s first textile “Goods of Cultural Interest” label. The embroidery is a 100 year old tradition, carried out by experienced & very skilled teams, which take responsibility for embroidering the different bible passages.
The horse is, without a doubt, one of the most outstanding feature points of the Lorca Semana Santa celebrations with horse riding displays, chariots & races down the main street which cause the sitting spectators to rise to their feet to cheer.
The Parade & Biblical Representation
From Barbarians to ancient Egypt everything & anything is depicted:
When you visit, make sure you don’t miss…
If you are going to visit, you should definitely not miss a visit to the different church headquarters decorated for the occasion with all kinds of artistic patrimony and, of course, the areas used to house the horses and their riders where you will be able to observe the last minute dressing/harnessing & rehearsals of these beautiful animals.
Special thanks go to Lola (a Spanish friend) who invited us and acted as our tour guide for the evening.