What a summery start to this year’s Easter week on Gran Canaria! A very popular time to have a holiday, so the tourist areas will receive an influx of travellers, including locals taking a few days off to enjoy themselves. Two Spanish bank holidays will also mean a chance to have a proper long “puente” bridge weekend. Spring is here, with all its wonders and glory!
Spain is still very much a catholic country, and there are few more interesting spectacles than the faithful following in processions behind images and statues of the foci of their devotions, infused with deep heartfelt sentiments and strongly held traditions, among the faithful you can expect weeping in the streets, wailing, fragrant incense and men in various colours of hoods and flowing robes, among many other strange sights at this time of year on Gran Canaria.
Semana Santa, Holy Week, on Gran Canaria includes a very important set festivities, around which many events are planned and depend. All around the island, particularly the larger towns and churches, there will be processions where icons and statues are carried through the streets. The biggest and most popular ones take place in the capital, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, as well as other religious sites such as Teror and Agüimes.
Thursday, 6 April and Friday, 7 April are bank holidays in Spain,
Here are some of the most popular religious easter processions taking place on Gran Canaria as well as programs (in Spanish) for a few other municipalities.
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Our provincial capital, here on the eastern islands, is Las Palmas de Gran Canaria where some of the biggest holiday celebrations of the annual calendar occur this week, with many events celebrated with vigour in intense and devout displays of faith, humility and sorrow. Welcome to Semana Santa, Holy Week.
Many processions run through the historic centre of the capital (as well as several in many of the older towns and villages around the island) and are often heavily loaded with symbolism and historic traditions, but still manage to maintain their own unique aesthetic and identity, followed by large audiences, as we move through the week.
The passage of revered iconographic images and statues, through the unique colonial old quarter of the capital, offers some unforgettable experiences during the Easter holidays.
From April 2 to 9, the capital of Gran Canaria provides the pulse of Holy Week, one of its most unique religious celebrations, loaded great historical and cultural importance. Dioceses and brotherhoods promote an intense agenda of processions, which for the most part run through the founding neighbourhood of Vegueta, its parishes and the Cathedral, located in the Plaza de Santa Ana.
On Palm Sunday, the procession of the Burrita (little donkey) takes place, following a route through the streets of Triana, the original merchant quarter, beginning in the Park of San Telmo, where the original port of Las Palmas was founded, in a hermitage, long associated with the seafarers and sailors who helped build the city from the end of the 15th century onwards. San Telmo is the guardian to some of the most outstanding, and understated, artistic heritage in the city. On the same day, the procession of the Nazarenos de Vegueta begins in the afternoon with the costaleros starting out from the beautiful old church of Santo Domingo, one of the most charming corners of the oldest neighbourhoods of the capital.
Other essential processions include the Brotherhood of Our Lady of Los Dolores de Triana, on Tuesday, and the Santo Encuentro, on Wednesday evening, in which the processions of three parishes converge at the door of the city cathedral. On Good Friday, one of the most unique gatherings takes place, the procession of Las Mantillas, from the Santa Ana Cathedral, displaying two of the most important works by revered Canarian sculptor Luján Pérez, and in the afternoon, the Magna Procession which unites all the parishes.
Sunday 2 April, Palm Sunday
“LA BURRITA” PROCESSION”
Palm Sunday, commemorates the triumphant entrance of Christianity’s central character to Jerusalem on his donkey. The morning procession from Parroquia de San Bernardo, Ermita de San Telmo includes an image of the fabled Jesus on a donkey followed by children carrying palms and olive branches.
Starting at 11:00 This procession travels some of the oldest streets in the capital: San Telmo, Mayor de Triana, Perdomo, Pérez Galdós, Buenos Aires, Parque San Telmo.
NAZARENOS DE VEGUETA “SALUD Y ESPERANZA” PROCESSION
That same evening at 19:00, a white, pointy-hooded “Health and Hope” procession ( Cristo de la Salud y La Virgen de la Esperanza de Vegueta ) follows with the penitential procession of the Brotherhood and Guild of Nazarenes from the Parish of Santo Domingo de Guzmán in the evening. This procession, Andalusian style carrying two images includes over a hundred members wearing tunics with hoods.
Tuesday 4 April, Martes Santo
The Los Dolores de Triana procession of the Brotherhood and Guild of Our Lady of Sorrows from the Parish of San Bernardo and San Telmo starts at 19:30 and returns to the church around 22:30. This procession, popularly known as the “Brotherhood of Sorrows of Triana”, is sober and austere in style, as the faithful accompany La Dolorosa (“the pained one”) walking behind her son, so full of anguish, and bitterness, that her face is revered for having the serene beauty of an afflicted mother, with her hands outstretched in a plea for his sacrificed life. Men in black and women in black wearing Canarian “mantillas” participate in this procession.
Route : Parroquia en el Parque de San Telmo, Mayor de Triana, Travieso, General Bravo, Pérez Galdós, ( Penitential Station in the Sanctuary of San Antonio de Padua ) , Pérez Galdós, Perdomo, Mayor de Triana – Parque de San Telmo
Wednesday 5 April, Miercoles Santo
Starts at 20:00 and arrives back at the Parroquia de Santo Domingo around 23:00.
This procession has stages throughout strategic points around the historic old quarter district of Vegueta; the meeting of the Holy Women and St. John with the christ on his way to Golgotha (Calvary), where the holy crucifixion is supposed to have taken place. The first stop is at the Temple exit, with the holy man carrying a cross on his back and meeting Simon the “Cyrenian” on the way towards Plaza de Santa Ana.
At the second station, San Juan and La Magdalena, go in search of the messiah, finding him in the Plaza del Espíritu Santo. After the second station, they visit La Verónica and Our Lady of Sorrows of Vegueta, and together they march in search of the man Jesus.
Once found by St. John and Mary Magdalena, they go to give the news to the Virgin Mary, who they find at the gates of the Casa de Colón. Along the way St. John, Mary Magdalena and La Dolorosa all meet Jesus again, this holy meeting takes place in the Plaza de Santa Ana. Veronica wipes the Face of Jesus, unfolding the Holy Face Cloth. Later they offer Penance in the Cathedral – Basilica de Santa Ana.
Good places to watch from are the Plaza De Santa Ana and Plaza de Santa Domingo where the procession starts and travels along calles (streets) Obispo Codina, Espíritu Santo, Reyes Católicos, Dr. Chil, Dr. Vernay, San Marcos, Garcia Tello and Plaza de Santo Domino
Thursday 6 April, Holy Thursday
Leaving at midnight to arrive at the Hermitage for around 02.30. The Via Crucis in silence accompanies the image of the “Holy Christ of the Good End”, first brought out into the streets in 1941, from dawn on Holy Thursday until Good Friday morning.
Before leaving the hermitage the Miserere is sung.
A bell marks each of the stops and then restarts of the procession. Celebrating the Stations of the Cross in places where wooden crucifixes have been hung from various old mansions in Vegueta to mark the end of Lent, the season of abstinence. Expect men in hoods with incense and smoke, lanterns and tall staffs
Route: Plaza del Espíritu Santo, Castillo, Doctor Chil, Plaza de San Agustín, Procurador Luis Mesa Suárez, San Agustín, Espíritu Santo, Reloj, Obispo Codina, lateral de la Plaza de Santa Ana, Castillo, Plaza del Espíritu Santo
Friday 7 April, Good Friday
”LAS MANTILLAS” PROCESSION
Faithful women dressed in traditional White Canarian scarves, “The Sorrowful” follow the path of the pain of a Mother behind her crucified son. The cortege prays with the Holy Rosary and upon arrival at the Plaza, and before entering the Temple, the Bishop imparts a Blessing from the Balcony of the Episcopal Palace. From the entrance to the Cathedral, to the sound of Chopin’s Funeral March, the Sermon of Seven Words is celebrated.
Leaving at 11:00 and arriving back at 12:30. Route : Obispo Codina, Espíritu Santo, Reyes Católicos, Doctor Chil, Plaza del Espíritu Santo, Castillo, Plaza de Santa Ana, Obispo Codina to the Cathedral.
MAGNA PROCESSION INTER PARISH VEGUETA & TRIANA
Starting at 18:30 A total of 15 steps from Santo Domingo, San Francisco and San Agustín will run through the streets of Vegueta and Triana; malagueñas will be sung in the Literary Cabinet with the participation of Cristina Ramos and another artist to be confirmed.
The Virgen de los Dolores crosses the Guiniguada ravine (on the banks of which the old town was founded) as part of the Magna on Good Friday
The parishes of Santo Domingo de Guzmán, San Agustín and San Francisco take their religious icons out to the streets and join in stages to form the Magna Procession.
From the Parish of Santa Domingo leaving at 18:30 and returning to the temple at 22:00.
From the parish of San Agustín, leaving at 18:45 and returning to the temple at 21:30
From the parish of San Francisco leaving at 19:00 and returning to the temple at 22:00
‘Retiro de Triana‘ procession
From the parish San Francisco de Asis leaving at 22:30 and returning at 23:30
‘Retiro de Vegueta‘ procession
The images of Cristo a Cuestas and the Virgen de los Dolores will depart from Santo Domingo at 22:30 and returning at 23:30
Sunday 9 April, Domingo de Resurrección
The procession ‘del Resucitado‘ on Easter Sunday morning at 11:30, departs with the image of the risen Christ for the first time from the large parish church of Santo Domingo de Guzmán.
Holy Week in Teror will recover the Easter Sunday procession. The procession program of the Basilica del Pino begins on Sunday, April 2, offering throughout the next week, from April 2 to 9, seven processions through the streets of Casco de Teror. In the processions, some of the most valuable works of Canarian imagery that the Basilica del Pino possesses will be taken to the streets, including those made by Lujan Pérez, such as the “Christ tied to the Column”, the “Virgen Dolorosa” and the “Saint John the Evangelist”. All processions will leave from Plaza Nuestra Señora del Pino, in front of the church.
Sunday 2 April, Domingo de Ramos (Palm Sunday) at 11:45
Religious eucharist during the morning, in the church of Our Lady of the Pine, at 08:00/10:00/11:00, followed by a blessing at 11:45 at the Plaza of the Church. The procession continues with the image of Jesus on the donkey and travels through the streets of the town. Route: Plaza Nuestra Señora del Pino, Calle La Herrería, Calle Nueva, Calle Del Riego, Real de la Plaza, and returns to Plaza Nuestra Señora del Píno.
Tuesday 4 April, Martes Santo at 20:00
Wednesday 5 April, Miercoles Santo at 20:00 and second at 20:30
Thursday 6 April, Jueves Santo, Vía Crucis at 22:15
Good Friday 7 April, Viernes Santo at 20:00 and 21:00
Sunday 9 April, Domingo de Resurrección, at 12:45
The traditional burning of Judas in Teror will take place on the night of the Easter Vigil on Saturday with a bonfire burning at the stake of a public figure. This is for all you night walkers… the burning is at 23:00
This is for all you night walkers…
The Easter Vigil and the traditional Burning of Judas in the municipality of Teror, as a symbolic religious act, marking the fabled betrayal of Judas, and at the same time contains present-day social criticisms too. As is tradition, Judas is performed by a group of young people from the municipality and represents a modern-day famous person, the name of which will not be known until Saturday night, to the surprise of the attendees. In recent years they have varied characters offered up for the Burning, including locally known characters Pocholo, la Pantoja de Puerto Rico, as well as Britain’s Prince Charles and even America’s orange-skinned 45th ex-president…
The giant “rag doll” (an effigy over six meters tall) will be paraded starting at 19:30 through the streets of El Casco and El Rincón, in a truck and accompanied by the Vitamina band heading to the Plaza de Sintes, where it will be burned by the community at 23:00, and there will also be a fireworks show. After the Burning, the festival begins at the Plaza de Sintes with Orchestra Furia Joven and Línea DJ
The Burning of Judas is a tradition that formerly was celebrated in almost all towns throughout Spain, and it has still continued in Teror (among a few other places).
Friday, 31 March. XXX Pasión, Muerte y Resurrección de Jesús de Nazaret at 20:00. The 30th play of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ has been represented in the streets of Agüimes since 1993. This work by Agüimense, Orlando Hernández Martín, is interpreted by amateur dramatist residents of the municipality who put on display their talents, to keep this tradition alive every year. The play will travel through the streets of old Agüimes. [Hint, just follow the crowd…]
Sunday, 2 April at 11:00 eucharist at the church, Parroquia de San Sebastián, followed by at 11:45, a procession around the Plaza del Nuestra Señora Rosario, of the Jesus arriving to Jerusalem.
Wednesday, 5 April. Holy encounter procession at 19:30
Thursday 6 April. Via Crucis at midnight through the town streets.
Friday 7 April. Crucifixion procession at 12:00 and at 21:00 the holy burial procession
Sunday 2 April
at 11:00 From Templo Matriz de Santiago, procession of the Jesus arriving to Jerusalem
Tuesday 4 April
at 19:00 Eucharist and at 20:00 procession of the Holy Christ tied to the Column, Ntra. Sra. de la Soledad y San Juan Evangelista.
Wednesday 5 April
at 19:00 eucharist and at 20:00 Procession of the Holy Christ with the Cross on his back and when arriving at the front of the Casino, Santo Encuentro with San Juan, La Verónica and his Mother Ntra. Señora de los Dolores. Next, Sermon of the Encounter. Accompanied by the municipal band of Gáldar.
Thursday 6 April l
10:00 h. a 13:00 h. Habrá sacerdotes en el confesionario para quienes deseen recibir el sacramento del perdón.
17:30 h. Eucaristía de la Cena del Señor en la parroquia de Ntra. Sra. de Fátima de la Montaña y reserva del Santísimo en el monumento. A continuación, Hora Santa.
19:30 h. Eucaristía Solemne de la Cena del Señor, a continuación, procesión claustral del Santísimo bajo palio y reserva en el monumento.
23:00 h. Hora Santa
00:00 h. Viacrucis con el Santísimo Cristo de Indias.
Friday 7 April
at 19:00 Holy office of Passion and the Death of the Lord, followed by the Magna procession in the following order:
I Cruz Procesional de Santiago (siglo XVI gótico renacentista).
II Jesús Atado a la Columna (siglo XVII).
III Ntro. Padre Jesús Nazareno (Siglo XVII).
IV Banda de Música la Isleña.
V Ntra. Sra. de la Soledad (siglo XVII, procedente de la antigua Iglesia de San Antonio de la Vega).
VI Santísimo Cristo de Indias (siglo XIX).
VII “Santa Cruz”, con la “Magdalena” (siglo XVII), “San Juan Evangelista” (obra contemporánea) y las insignias de la Pasión.
VIII Santo Sepulcro (obra contemporánea).
IX Santísima Virgen de los Dolores (Luján Pérez, 1756–1815).
X Clero Parroquial.
XI Pendón de la Real Ciudad bajo Mazas.
XII Excma. Corporación Municipal.
XIII Banda de Música de Gáldar.
at 22:00 Sermon of Solitude and procession of the retreat of Our Lady of Sorrows accompanied by the municipal band of Gáldar.
Saturday 8 April
at 22:00 Easter Vigil of Resurrection, followed by procession of the Blessed Sacrament under a canopy and blessing.
Santa Maria de Guía
The celebration of Holy Week in the City of Luján Pérez begins on Palm Sunday, with the Blessing of the Olive Trees at 10:00 and the Procession at 11:00 that will take place from the Plaza de San Roque to the Church of Santa María de Guía.
On Holy Tuesday, at the end of the Eucharist, which begins at 19:00, the Vía Crucis and the Procession of the Lord Tied to the Column will be celebrated.
On Holy Wednesday, after the Eucharist at 19:00, the Encounter Procession will be held with the departure of the Nazarene who will go up Luis Suárez Galván, Poeta Bento street and go down Pérez Galdós street to meet in the San José square with the steps of La Dolorosa, San Juan and La Verónica in one of the most emotional processions that take place in this city.
On Good Friday, the celebration of the Lord’s Passion, at 18:00, which will be followed by the Magna Procession with five steps from Luján: Lord Preacher, Lord of Prayer in El Huerto, Lord Tied to the Column, Crucified, and La Dolorosa and, next to these, the steps of the Nazarene, Verónica, San Juan and Santo Sepulcro.
On Good Friday night, at 23:00, after the Holy Rosary and the Sermon of La Soledad, the Retiro Procession will take place with the steps of La Dolorosa and San Juan in the surroundings of the Parish Church.
On Holy Saturday, at 20:00, the celebration of the solemn Pascual Vigil and the Procession with the Risen Christ will take place.
On Easter Sunday there will be a Eucharist at 10:00 and 12:00.