Record numbers of people to take part
All around Spain people take to the streets at Easter to watch and participate in solemn religious processions to demonstrate their faith, devotion and penitence. Here in Mallorca nearly every town and village has some sort of act during the period, but the most and biggest processions obviously take place in the island's capital Palma where the mighty Gothic cathedral La Seu dominates the proceedings.
This year a record number of people, over 5000 men, women (more than ever before) and boys will take part in 17 processions from churches and neighbourhoods around the city. Organised in 33 brotherhoods representing their area, the 'penitents' dress in long flowing robes, pointed hats and masks with each group having its own unique style and coloured uniforms and standards.
They march slowly through the streets carrying enormous statues on flower bedecked floats accompanied by solemn music and with people scattering petals onto them from balconies on high. It really is a sight to behold and one which brings Spain's religious and sometimes dark past – records show Easter processions taking place in Palma as long ago as 1554 – right into the 21st century.
If you'd like to see this wonderful spectacle then the two main processions with the most number of penitents and brotherhoods involved take place on Holy Thursday and Good Friday 24th and 25th March. These days the brotherhoods march in order of antiquity with the most recently formed 'cofradias' (the latest one was 2008) leading the way.
On Holy Thursday the procession starts at 19:00 in the Plaza del Hospital and winds its inexorable way around the city to the cathedral by the early hours of the morning! On Good Friday the procession starts in the Basilica of the Franciscan monks at 19:30 and lasts for about 5 hours on the streets.
The brotherhoods have their own website which gives all the details of all the processions and includes information on the colours of the robes (our photos from here) they wear so they can be identified easily. If you are in Mallorca, try to see a procession, they really are both fascinating and spectacular, a real must do!