Celebrating Madrid’s Semana Santa

There are few things more depressing than a rainy Semana Santa in Spain. Months and months of preparation literally down the drain. From the tears of the small children and disappointed monaguillos to the crestfallen costaleros, rain on this holiest of weeks really bursts a lot of bubbles. Yet, it has rained on almost every Semana Santa since I’ve been in Madrid. A sign from above, maybe?

Although more than a few processions were canceled or cut short by sinful rain this year, thankfully, a few managed to march on without problem here in the capital city. Here are a few photos from the Procesión de la Soledad from Real Iglesia de San Ginés or perhaps better known as that church near the famed Chocolatería San Ginés.
Holy Week in Madrid, 2013
Madrid Holy Week, 2013

Madrid Holy Week, 2013

Madrid Holy Week, 2013

Madrid Holy Week, Virgin

Madrid Semana Santa, 2013
Madrid Semana Santa, 2013

Madrid Holy Week, three

Madrid Holy Week, Rosary


I’ll never forget my first Semana Santa in Spain. It was in Seville and I remember being doubtful that I would enjoy such a hearty religious event, but I loved everything about it.

Every. Single. Moment.

Like giddy, obsessive stalkers, we followed almost every ornate paso down packed Sevillan streets. We raced to beat them to certain corners just to marvel at how they maneuver around the narrow curves, watching the canopies sway back and forth. I remember how the lingering smell of incense and the wailing saetas enhanced the sight of the floating virgins and Jesus statues as they passed by. The distinct shouts of “arte!” or “vamo!” as el Capataz gave the order to lift. Still to this day, the emotion that surrounds La Macarena immediately brings tears to my eyes.

“Guapa, guapa y … guaaapa!”

Years later, I’m still thankful to Seville for instilling this enthusiasm I have for this inspirational event. I loved it then and I really hope I always will…

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5 Responses to Celebrating Madrid’s Semana Santa

  1. I would gladly trade you Seville for Madrid during Holy Week! The raise in prices and the inability to do ANYTHING (I live in an outlying neighborhood, so it’s a bit easier to move around, save Lunes Santo), did me in the first year. I do love the photo of the mantilla, though!

    • Hamatha says:

      Well, I’m sure being there as a tourist is completely different than living there and just trying to get on with regular life during this madness. I really enjoyed my visit, but I don’t know if I’d be able to handle it year after year either….

  2. Maybe one year it will actually be sunny during Semana Santa! The rain kept a lot of processions from saliendo in Zamora :( But Zamora is not like Sevilla, people are usually in 2-3 processions, so it’s not the huge disappointment it is in the south.

  3. Sarah says:

    I am so sad that I missed Semana Santa when I studied abroad in Sevilla two years ago. It was pouring rain all week long, I was sick, and I had finals coming up as soon as it ended. Not to mention my computer charger quit working, I had five papers due, and none of the stores were open. Unbeleivably, my Semana Santa in Sevilla sucked, which is why I’m so happy to read this blog post so that I may live vicariously!

    • Hamatha says:

      Hi Sarah,

      My Semana Santa experience was also marred by rain and cold! No sickness or studying, but it was freezing the year I was there – I’ve never been so cold in my life! But we did manage to see quite a few processions and it was all worth it. I’d love to go back at some point. Or even go to a smaller pueblo like Zamora to see a different style. Maybe next year!

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