Holy Week in Braga
©Holy Week Braga. All rights reserved.

Photography exhibition

Holy Week

a European perspective

Alcalá La Real, Spain


Author: Alcalá la Real Tourist Office


In the Semana Santa of Alcalá la Real, past and present, rite and tradition merge, what makes this event genuine is the combination of religiosity and popular excitement, embodied in the imitated, staged or proclaimed steps that follow in procession parades, and which have their main manifestation on the morning of Good Friday. On this day, the Passion is staged in the streets of the historic centre by means of the "Declamed Steps".
The mime Passos in Alcalá la Real are a fusion of two traditions, the autos and mysteries that were performed on the occasion of Corpus Christi, festive and religious performances staged by local people, which depicted biblical stories and the life, passion and death of Christ. They were performed until the 18th century in churches, helping to spread Catholic doctrine. The commotion they caused led to their being staged outside churches. Nowadays, the streets and squares of the historic centre are the site of the processions. In the image we can see the representation of Judas' repentance, which is celebrated on Good Friday.




Author: Alcalá la Real Tourist Office


In the Brotherhoods of the Apostles and of Ecce Homo, the brothers wear costumes in the processions that represent characters related to mime performances. The Apostles, as shown in the photograph, wear a flowered stole and purple tunic, except for Judas Iscariot, known in Alcalá la Real as Juillas, who wears red. All of them have their faces covered with an ornament and wigs. In the case of Juillas, with blond hair is a mask with a schizophrenic expression.






Author: Alcalá la Real Tourist Office


The Real Confraria del Dulce Nombre de Jesús y Santa Caridad is the oldest penitent brotherhood in Alcalá la Real. The old image, attributed to José de Mora, was destroyed in 1936 during the Civil War, and replaced in 1939 by another sculpted by José Manuel Rodríguez Fernández-Andes, a Sevillian sculptor with a short but prestigious career, and paid for by Francisco Serrano del Mármol, a benefactor of the brotherhood. There are records of its processional parade from the early years of the 17th century, although the brotherhood was founded in 1597. It is, therefore, the oldest Holy Week procession.






Author: Alcalá la Real Tourist Office


The Palm Sunday processions of Borriquilla and the Virgen de la Estrella, and the Tuesday procession of the Prayer in the Garden and Hope, or the procession of the Christ of Humility and the Virgin of Dolours on Holy Thursday, are essential dates of Passion Week in Alcalá la Real. But without doubt the most eagerly awaited of all takes place on Holy Friday afternoon. The Cristo de la Salud y la Virgen de las Angustias meet every year at the intersection of Veracruz Street, in what is another of the key moments of Alcalá's Holy Week, and bid each other farewell on Real Street near the intersection with Martínez Montañés Street. It is important to note that this street bears the name of what is considered the "master of wood". Montañés, a 16th century sculptor, who created a school in Seville after training in the workshop of the master Pablo de Rojas. Alcalá la Real has the honour of being the birthplace of both, considered the most prestigious image makers in Andalusia.