Holy Week in Granada 2015 – Easter Processions and ItineraryHoly Week in Granada is very unique when compared with how other Andalusian cities celebrate it. It is renowned for the simplicity and beauty of its "pasos" (floats of thrones with religious icons), and also for the unique surroundings of the processions.
Indeed, the streets of the Albaicín, for example, so narrow and twisted with their typical cobblestones, give a special setting to the procession of the Virgen de la Aurora and the Concepción.
Unforgettable images await the visitor, like those of the procession of "el Silencio" and "el Cristo de los Gitanos" returning to their home churches after midnight by the Carrera del Darro. And not forgetting the beautiful backdrop, with the Alhambra often to be admired atop its moonlit hill.
As Easter dates change every year, the chances of seeing the processions in moonlight vary (weather is also a factor!). Easter usually coincides with the first full moon around the spring equinox, although the exact dates are determined by the Vatican. In Spain, the festivities take place in the last week of Lent.
In 2015, Easter in Granada is celebrated from 29 of March to 5 of April.
During Holy Week in Granada, thirty-two processions take place on the streets of the city leading to the Cathedral, where they all make the Station of Penitence before they make their way back to their home churches.
They all follow the official itinerary, which starts at the Tribuna Oficial in Calle Ängel Ganivet (near the Puerta Real), where local authorities receive every cofradía (fraternity or brotherhood) one by one.
Palm Sunday in Granada - March 29, Holy Week 2015
On Palm Sunday, five cofradías (fraternities) go through the streets of Granada.
At 16:00, when the church of Nuestra Señora del Perpetuo Socorro opens its doors to let out the popular procession called "La Burriquilla", Holy Week in Granada begins.
This procession represents the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, and many children take part in it by dressing up in biblical costumes and carrying palms. The best place to see it from is when it passes under the Arco de Elvira.
At 17:45, the procession of the Cautivo de Granada and the Virgen de la Encarnación begins at the church of Sagrario, next to the Cathedral.
The Church of Santo Domingo, in the heart of the historic district of Realejo, opens its doors to the procession of Santa Cena Sacramental and Maria Santísima de la Victoria at 18:30.
A bit earlier, at 18:15, and right at the foot of the Alhambra's hill, the procession of Nuestro Padre Jesús de la Sentencia and María Santísima de las Maravillas begins from the church of San Pedro and San Pablo.
Finally, the procession of Nuestro Padre Jesús Despojado comes out at 19:00.
Holy Monday in Granada - March 30, Holy Week 2015
On this day, the popular neighbourhood of Zaidín initiates its Holy Week festivities with its youngest cofradía, the Santisimo Cristo del Trabajo and Nuestra Señora de la Luz. They make their way to the centre of Granada at 16:30 from the church of Corpus Christi.
At 18:00, the Virgen de los Dolores comes out into the beautiful street of Carrera del Darro from the church of San Pedro and San Pablo. And at the same time, Nuestro Padre Jesús del Rescate begins its journey in the heart of Granada, at the Parish church of Santa María Magdalena.
Later on, at 19:00, once again from the devoted neighbourhood of Realejo, a solemn procession takes place: Nuestro Senor en el Huerto de los Olivos and Maria Santísima de la Amargura.
Undoubtedly, the latest and oldest cofradía of the day is the Santísimo Cristo de San Agustín (from the seventeenth century). It starts at 20:45 from the church of the Monastery of the Ángel Custodio.
Holy Tuesday in Granada - March 31, Holy Week 2015
The festivities start once again from the Zaidín with the procession of the Santísimo Cristo de la Lanzada and María Santísima de la Caridad at 16:45.
And many expectant people congregate in the Plaza Nueva, waiting to see the procession of Nuestro Padre Jesús del Gran Poder and Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza at 18:15. There is an amazing atmosphere when these impressive icons come out of the church of San Gil and Santa Ana.
If you stay in the Plaza Nueva, you will see another procession: Nuestro Padre Jesús de la Amargura and Nuestra Señora de los Reyes, which leaves at 18:15 from the chapel attached to the temple of San Juan de los Reyes (the first catholic church blessed by Isabel and Fernando after they reconquered Granada).
Finally, in Realejo, the last procession of the day leaves from the most important church of the neighbourhood, Santo Domingo. You can see the cofradía of the Señor de la Humildad y la Virgen de la Soledad at 19:15.
Holy Wednesday in Granada - April 1, Holy Week 2015
At 19:20 the first cofradía of the day arrives at the Tribuna Oficial in the Calle Ganivet: Santísimo Cristo del Consuelo y María Santísima del Sacromonte, known as "Los Gitanos" (the gypsies).
This is one of the most beautiful and breathtaking processions of Holy Week in Granada. Without a doubt, the best place to see it from is on its way back to the Abbey on top of the Sacromonte, where the gypsies receive the icons with bonfires and saetas (prayers sung in flamenco style without instruments).
The University of Granada has its own religious brotherhood, whose icons are those of Nuestro Señor de la Meditación and María Santísima de los Remedios. Their procession leaves the university chapel (the parish church of the Santos Justo y Pastor) at 17:30.
The participating students and professors wear their penitential robes, and a number of them (up to 30) take part as costaleros, who are hidden from view as they bear the huge weight of the trono's structure, which shrouds them.
Holy Wednesday is a big day at the Realejo: three processions parade from their churches. At 19:20, the costaleros of Nuestro Padre Jesús de la Paciencia and María Santísima de las Penas struggle to pass through the narrow doors of the church of San Matías and down the steps that lead to the street of San Matías. This is the best vantage point.
You will see the purple nazarenos of the cofradía of Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno and María Santísima de la Merced arriving at around 21:00 to Plaza de los Girones from the Monastery of the Carmelitas Descalzas.
And at 19:20, the crowds wait in the square by Santo Domingo church to see the popular procession of the Virgen del Rosario y Nuestro Padre Jesús de las Tres Caídas. The same crowds gather again long after midnight to accompany the cofradía on their return.
Maundy Thursday in Granada - April 2, Holy Week 2015
If Holy Wednesday is a big day for the people of the Realejo, Maundy Thursday is certainly the Albaycín´s special day, when thousands of people fill its narrow and winding streets looking for the best spot to watch these cofradías.
Amazing, indeed, is the work of the costaleros carrying Nuestro Padre Jesús del Perdón and María Santísima de la Aurora through the neighbourhood. They leave San Miguel Bajo church at 18:00.
And, at 16:15, from the Monastery de la Concepción comes another spectacular procession: the Virgen de la Concepción, called "la Concha".
It is a unique experience to feel the atmosphere of this old neighborhood, and it is also very special to see all these processions coming back to their churches in the early hours of the morning.
The procession of María Santísima de la Estrella and Nuestro Padre Jesús de la Pasión, climbing the very steep Cuesta de la Alhacaba at around 01:00 to return to the church of San Cristóbal at the very top of the Albaycín, is truly overwhelming.
And the last procession to parade on Maundy Thursday is a very curious one: the Silencio. At the stroke of midnight, from the parish church by the Carrera del Darro, this beautiful icon made by José de Mora in the seventeenth century parades through the streets of Granada accompanied only by drumbeats.
There are no processional marches, only the sound of footsteps of the costaleros; no festive atmosphere, only one of penitance and silence. All lights are extinguished on its way.
Good Friday in Granada - April 3, Holy Week 2015
On Good Friday, the most popular event of the day takes place in the Campo del Príncipe, in the heart of the Realejo, where more than 5,000 people gather every year to say the traditional prayers before the statue of Señor de los Favores (built in 1682). It is the most popular event of Holy Week in Andalusía.
At 15:00 the crowd becomes silent. There follows a moving silent prayer which, according to tradition, includes the petition of three "favours" (hence 'Señor de los Favores').
There are six processions in Granada on Good Friday, so it is not easy to decide which ones to see. But if you feel up to experiencing all six, make sure you take comfortable shoes and clothing.
Once again, the Realejo, traditionally one of the most devoted neighbourhoods in the city, opens up two of its main churches, Santo Domingo and the parish church of San Cecilio. The cofradías of la Virgen de la Soledad (at 14:50) and el Santísimo Cristo de los Favores y María Santísima de la Misericordia (at 18:45) parade on the streets of Granada.
And next to the River Genil embankment, at around 18:45, the procession of the Santisimo Cristo de la Expiracion and Maria Santisima del Mayor Dolor leaves from the parish church of San José de Calasanz. One of the best places to see it from: when it crosses the Roman Bridge next to the Carrera del Darro at 19:15.
At 18:45, on the other side of town, people gather at the doors of the Monastery of San Jerónimo to witness the carrying-out of the spectacular Soledad, one of the most beautiful icons in the Easter processions of Granada; see the outstanding beauty in the sadness of its face. It follows the Holy Sepulchre accompanied by a uniquely fascinating cortège.
Finally, we return to the Plaza Nueva to see the procession known as "el Entierro de Cristo" (the Entombment of Christ), coming out of the parish church of San Gil y Santa Ana at 20:30.
Holy Saturday in Granada - April 4, Holy Week 2015
On Holy Saturday Granada focuses on the Alhambra. The only Easter procession in Granada on this day comes from a church located right inside its most famous monument: Santa Maria de la Alhambra at 17:30.
The icon to be paraded is a sculpture of the Virgen de las Angustias, the protector of Granada, by Ruiz del Peral.
This procession comes down the hill of the Alhambra, passing by some spectacular places in the monument. It is recommended to see this procession from within the bounds of the Alhambra. Puerta de la Justicia at 18:35. Puerta de las Granada around 19:00. Plaza Nueva at 19:45.
Easter Sunday - April 5, Holy Week 2015
On Easter Sunday, all the bells in Granada toll joyfully. Processions take to the streets in the morning.
A children´s procession leaves at 11:30 from the Church of Santo Domingo. These processing children are called 'the Facundillos'.
They carry a small float of a throne with a beautiful image of the Infant Christ accompanied by many other children playing musical instruments. Traditionally, all of the children who come over to see this procession must carry small bells and ring them loudly.
This procession passes through the Calle Ganivet (the Official Tribune) at 12:15, and it leads to the Cathedral at 12:45.
Two more Easter Sunday processions close the Holy Week festivities in Granada. At 09:00 from the Church of San Miguel Arcángel, the first cofradía leaves: Nuestro Señor de la Resurrección y Santa María del Triunfo. From the Church of Sagrario, next to the Cathedral at 11:00, nazarenos of the Resucitado and Nuestra Señora de la Alegría walk the streets slowly.
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Opinions about Ester in Granada
Seating for the Holy Week paradesWe stayed at the hotel Melia, Angel Ganivet 7, Granada during 7-11 April. outside the hotel workmen were assembling seating ready for the Holy Week parades. Almost every night we were unable to sleep because of the noise of drilling, banging and clashing. This went on into the early hours of the morning and really spoilt our holiday.
We realise work needs to be carried out when the city is not so busy but could noisy work not be stopped at midnight? Apart from that we really enjoyed exploring Granada-it is a truly wonderful city.
Amazing Weekend City BreakJust got back to UK on Tuesday morning after fantastic long weekend in Granada (11-14 April). Stayed in Calle Navas, great tapas bars in street. Loved the City and exploring all the narrow alleyways especially in Albacyzin district, walked till we virtually dropped. La Alhambra so beautiful and calm and Easter processions were simply amazing, finished our last night at a Flamenco show. Simply the most wonderful city break, would love to go back and stay all of holy week.
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