Celebrating Easter in Spain’s Capital City

Semana Santa

Visiting Madrid for Semana Santa is a little different than being in Sevilla, Málaga, Jerez, Úbeda or even San Vicente de la Sonsierra (Rioja), but only in the number of Brotherhoods or in the overall intensity of their processions.  You won’t see any flagellation, “los picaos”, but if you know what’s going on, Holy Week can be an interesting time to be in Madrid, a delightful experience.

The weather in April is normally comfortble, with temperatures in the upper 60s or higher during the day, and the low 40s at night.  Semana Santa this year, starting with Palm Sunday, is celebrated from April 5-11, with Easter Sunday falling on April 12.

Palm Sunday – Domingo de Ramos

There will be concerts in churches around the city and processions by the Catholic brotherhoods starting on Palm Sunday, with the procession of Cristo de la Fé y del Perdón and Nuestro Padre Jesús de la Salud leaving from the Basílica Pontificia de San Miguel, Calle de San Justo, 4, in the center of Hapsburg Madrid, in the evening aroud 7:00 pm parading through the neighborhood streets.

Penitents during Holy Week, Madrid
Penitents during Holy Week, Madrid (Foto: Corrado Baratta)

Holy Wednesday – Miércoles Santo

By mid-week you will notice that Easter is under way.  In the evenings around 7:30 pm the Archbishop takes part in the Vía Crucis, the Way of the Cross.  Later the brotherhood of the Cruzados de la Fe retrieves the icon Santísimo Cristo de la Fe from its resting place in the Iglesia Del Santisimo Cristo de la Fe, Calle de Atocha, 87, one of the oldest churches in the city (1620), and venerates his image with a besapié, kissing his foot.

In the historic Madrid, the Madrid of the Austrias, San Jerónimo el RealCalle Ruiz de Alarcón, 19, is the starting point for a procession of the Brotherhood of Nuestro Padre Jesús de la Salud y María Santísima de las Angustias, La Hermandad de los Gitanos, the Brotherhood of the Gypsies.

The Brotherhood of Cristo de los Gitanos, Christ of the Gypsies, procession starts at the La Parroquia de Nuestra Señora del Carmen y San Luis, Calle de la Salud, 2, at 8:15 pm

On Easter Sunday the Aragon Tamborrada will be held at Plaza Mayor

Holy Thursday or Maundy Thursday – Jueves Santo

Perhaps one of the most spectacular moments of Easter weeks occurs on Holy Thursday. This takes place at around 7:30 to 8:00 pm at the Colegiata de San Isidro, Calle de Toledo, 37.  The religious images of the Virgin Maria Santísima de la Esperanza and Jesús del Gran Podery de la Macarena are brought out of the church by the “costaleros” and through the main door.  To do this, they have to get down almost on their knees to slowly make their way through, an immense effort rewarded with the applause and shouts of encouragement from the watching crowds.

The processions of Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno, El Pobre, and María Santísima del Dulce Nombre leave Church of San Pedro El Viejo, Calle del Nuncio, 14, at around 7:00 pm.

The image “El Divino Cautivo” is paraded from the Colegio CalasancioCalle General Díaz Porlier, 58, one of Madrid’s oldest churches (1202).

Penitents during Holy Week, Madrid
Penitents during Holy Week, Madrid

Good Friday – Viernes Santo

Today you will experience  perhaps the most emblematic religious procession for Madrid, Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno, which leaves the Basílica del Cristo de Medinaceli in the Plaza de Jesús at around 7:00 pm and parades in the streets from the Puerta de Sol to the Plaza Cibeles.

The “Procesión del Silencio“, the Procession of Silence,  starts at the Iglesia Del Santisimo Cristo de la Fe, home of Hermandad del Silencio and the Sociedad Cervantina, at Calle de Atocha, 87.

The City Hall, the Ayuntamiento, organises its own procession called the Santo Entierro which leaves the Parish Church of Santa Cruz at Atocha, 6, with the image of Lignum Crucis, the relic of the True Cross of Christ.

Holy Saturday – Sábado Santo

The procession of “Nuestra Señora de la Soledad“, Our Lady of Solitude, leaves the Corpus Christi Monastery, Plaza del Conde de Miranda, 3, at around 4:30 pm.

Easter Sunday – Domingo Santo

La tamborrada zaragozana
La Tamborrada Zaragozana (Foto: Kike Rincón)

On Easter Sunday the Tamborada del Domingo de Resurrección will be held at Plaza Mayor. After mass, the drummers will gather at Convento de las Carboneras, in Plaza del Conde de Miranda, at 11:45 am and head to Plaza Mayor, where the parade will kick off at noon.

There is still time to book your Holy Week excursion to Spain’s capital.

Exclusive Travel Planning Services by Iberian Traveler & Maribel’s Guides.  Contact Maribel to arrange a custom itinerary for your trip to Spain, Portugal, or France.



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