Holy Week in Jerez, which has been designated as a National Tourist Interest, is a major religious, social, and cultural festival commemorating Christ’s Passion, Death, and Resurrection. It takes place every year during the week of the first full moon of the spring season.
Processions take over the streets of Spain from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday as a commemoration to Jesus Christ’s Passion. Besides, the massive statues (pasos) that you see during the festival were created with an educational purpose in mind, putting a picture to Bible passages. The folks that walk the processions with the float are repenting of their sins and committing an act of penance.
This year it goes from Apr 10, 2022 to Apr 17, 2022
Holy Week is one of the city’s most important spring events. Almost fifty brotherhoods parade through the city, displaying a rich historical and aesthetic cultural history that has been magnified by the most renowned image makers, carvers, goldsmiths, and embroiderers of recent centuries, leaving an extraordinary legacy. Its history, the highest number of brotherhoods after Seville, and the unique saeta flamenca, the flamenco style of Holy Week in Jerez, make it one of Andalusia’s most important cities.
Origins of Holy Week
The oldest brotherhoods date back to the 15th century, while the “youngest” had its first procession in 1973. They all make a stop at the Cathedral on their way – known as the station of penitence. Some of the most traditional brotherhoods are those of La Borriquita, El Transporte, La Coronación and Las Angustias. Of all the processions, the ones on Good Friday stand out especially, such as the Most Sacred Christ of the Exaltation, The Virgin of Solitude and the Holy Burial.
Besides, the current Holy Week brotherhoods in Jerez have their beginnings in the 16th century. The first brotherhoods, whose mission was to undergo public penance during the most crucial days of Lent, were created in this century.
Originally, these brotherhoods had only a few brothers in their processions, who held torches.
Until the end of the 18th century, when Carlos III abolished the brotherhoods and forbade the disciplinarian processions, this style of celebrating Holy Week remained largely unchanged.
The magnificence of Holy Week in Jerez will be restored at the turn of the twentieth century. The establishment of new brotherhoods and the recovery of old devotions must be added to the rebirth of old brotherhoods. The rate of growth of the list of penitential brotherhoods and the number of brothers in them has been unstoppable since the middle of the century, indicating that the brotherhood phenomenon is currently in a good place.
Processions normally follow a set of rules. The massive Cruz de Guia will be followed by a group of people holding torches or lanterns. The statues will then appear, generally two of them, one of Jesus and one of Mary, with the trumpet band behind them. Hundreds of people can participate in each procession and follow the sculptures.
There will be numerous different statues in a city. Despite their similar appearances, they all depict various scenarios from the gospels relating to Christ’s Passion or the Virgin Mary’s Sorrows.
Furthermore, the statues are accompanied by trumpet bands performing sorrowful music. Long candles are carried by more penitentes. Everyone wears a hood, which is usually a tall, pointed hood with slits for eyes that can look sinister. There are as many brotherhoods as there are churches in some cities.
Main features of Holy Week
Costaleros, so named because of the white protective covering (el costal) that they wear on their heads, carry the float through the city. The church’s brotherhood includes these locals. Each float has between 20 and 40 costaleros who practice all year. While some processions are quite long, costaleros will change every hour or two to give themselves a rest.
The nazarenos, who wear possibly the most contentious clothing of the event, are also present in the processions. These penitents’ robes don’t attract much attention. The conical hood (capirote), on the other hand, bears a remarkable resemblance to the outfit worn by the K.K.K. There is no link between the two traditions, rest assured.
The one-of-a-kind gown was inspired by a desire to confess sins without disclosing one’s identity, as the cowl only exposes the wearer’s eyes. Some of the larger processions can attract as many as 3,000 nazarenos.
It is a Spanish word that means “little mantill’’. Towards the end of Semana Santa in Seville, women wear this intricate headgear. These exquisitely detailed lace veils are exquisitely made. Because you have to weave your hair around the comb to keep it in place, women frequently seek professional aid to fit them in place.
During the procession, you’ll hear La Saeta, a traditional religious song. Many Jerez residents consider this moving acapella performance to be a highlight of ‘‘Semana Santa”. It is a privilege to perform the saeta. Witnessing it, on the other hand, should be cherished. In the presence of the audience, hearing the performer’s angst
How to get there
You can reach Jerez de la Frontera by a variety of modes of transportation. The airport in Jerez is around 20 minutes away from the city core.
In this section of Spain, the train service is good. Jerez is within a one-hour train ride from Seville and has excellent connections to adjacent cities. The beach and El Puerto de Santa Maria are only a 10-minute rail ride away.
Driving is always a nice option in Spain, although it is not always essential, particularly in Jerez.
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