Thinking about coming to Madrid during the Holy week?
From Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, thousands of people flock to the city to attend the numerous processions that take place on the streets of Madrid, and to enjoy the atmosphere created by the trumpets, rolling drums and the hundreds of religious worshippers’ bright and colorful attire.
During Holy Week, the delicate effigies that are kept in the various basilicas and churches throughout the rest of the year are adorned with numerous candles, flowers and elaborate embroidered cloaks. They are then brought out and carried in processions through landmark areas of the city such as Paseo del Prado, Calle de Alcalá and Plaza Mayor.
There are many processions held on Palm Sunday and Holy Wednesday, the most important being the Cristo de la Fe y el Perdón and Nuestro Padre Jesús de la Salud processions.
The former starts out from the Basílica Pontificia de San Miguel where an 18th century statue by Luis Salvador Carmona, and the religious statue of “Santa María Inmaculada Madre de la Iglesia“, is carried through the surrounding streets. The latter, organised by the Nuestro Padre de la Salud y María Santísima de las Angustias brotherhood, also known as the Gitanos or Gypsies, parades through the streets surrounding Paseo del Prado and Plaza de Neptuno.
On the Holy Wednesday, around 7.30pm, Madrid’s Archbishop takes part in the Vía Crucis, or Stations of the Resurrection. On the same day, In the old historic part of Madrid, the Madrid of the Austrias, the San Jerónimo el Real church in Calle Ruiz de Alarcón, 19 is the starting point for a procession involving the Brotherhood of “Nuestro Padre Jesús de la Salud y María Santísima de las Angustias“.
On the Holy Thursday the processions with the highest following take place. This takes place at Calle Toledo, 37, at around 7.30 to 8pm at the Colegiata de San Isidro. The religious images of the Virgin Maria Santísima de la Esperanza and Jesús del Gran Poder are brought out of the church by the “costaleros” and through the main door.
In addition, Good Friday sees yet another two parades: Jesús Nazareno de Medinaceli, which leaves the Basílica del Cristo de Medinaceli in the Plaza de Jesús at around 7pm and parades central streets including the Puerta de Sol and Plaza Cibeles; and The “Procesión del Silencio” or Procession of Silence starts from the Church of Santísimo Cristo de la Fé in Calle Atocha 87.
Finally, on the Holy Saturday is held the Virgen Dolorosa and la Procesión de la Soledad that leaves the Corpus Christi Monastery at around 4:30pm.
Bringing Holy Week to a close and in celebration of Easter Sunday, a drum band from Aragón arrives at Madrid’s Plaza Mayor. This is the “Tamborada del Domingo de Resurección” that from this emblematic square, a large number of religious worshippers make music, to the sound of drums of various kinds, to mark the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, three days after his death.
During this week, not only is Christ’s devotion exalted, but the city also stages other cultural events. Last but not least, the city’s best restaurants and patisseries serve and sell typical Easter foods and goodies. Like other religious celebrations, Holy Week in Madrid is in part about gastronomy and the preparation of typical dishes.
Amongst the period’s most popular dishes are torrijas – a sweet made from bread that is washed in milk and cinnamon, and then fried and sprinkled with sugar. Crunchy, battered little pieces of cod named Soldaditos de Pavía, Madrid-style chickpea stew known as potaje de garbanzos a la madrileña, and cod croquettes or croquetas de bacalao are also highly popular during this time of year.
Come and visit Madrid during such an interesting week, full of activities and places to visit. Let us be part of your experience!