33 Brotherhoods will take part in Palma's Easter religious processions
Easter in Spain is a time for solemn religious processions which as well as being a display of faith and devotion, are a fascinating spectacle for the thousands who turn out to watch. In Mallorca,
there are processions all around the island, but obviously the biggest, best and most numerical are those in Palma.
The city has 33 cofradias, brotherhoods if you like, of people who each year don their ceremonial robes and carry enormous floats carrying religious statues from the various churches and around the
streets to the accompaniment of bands playing solemn music and with petals thrown from the balconies above by spectators.
Each brotherhood has its own special robes in different styles and colours, whose origins date back hundreds of years to the time of the Spanish inquisition, and whose pointed hoods remind our
American cousins of the sinister Ku Klux Klan.
This year the 33 cofradias will parade in order of antiquity with the most recently formed, Nuestro Padre Jesús de la Humildad y Nuestra Señora de la Paz, formed in 2008 starting the processions on
Friday 27th March and the oldest, Antiquísima Cofradía de la Cruz de Calatrava, formed in 1902, going last on Easter Sunday, 5th April.
During this period there will be a total of 17 processions involving all the cofradias and 20 musical bands as well as other organisations like the Guardia Civil, army cavalry etc. with the biggest
single day being Holy Thursday when around 4,600 people will be involved!
If you have the chance to go along, do make the effort as the processions really do stir the emotions with the solemn music, the gait of the hooded penitentes walking as if shackled and the giant
floats, slowly swaying as they are carried aloft through the narrow streets. My abiding memory of Easter Week is th ebeautiful scent of thousands of fresh flowers which decorate the statues and
floats as they pass by.
There is a downloadable PDF which gives the details of all the processions, the
dates, times, churches and routes and though all in Catalan, it's not too difficult to decipher the information. It also has an interesting section showing the different ceremonial robes of each
cofradia so you can identify them in the pub afterwards.
Happy Easter everyone!