Spectacular scenes in Palma on Good Friday

Good Friday procession, Palma

Good Friday procession, Palma. Credit: Annie christmas

The Holy Week processions concluded in Palma on Good Friday, 29 March, with a solemn procession through the streets.

More than 4,500 participants from the 33 brotherhoods of Palma participated in the parade and were watched by countless thousands lining the streets.

The bad weather which had forced the suspension of many celebrations in mainland Spain fortunately did not reach Mallorca. Only one brotherhood was unable to parade with their paso, or float, due to a structural technical hitch. Sadly, they had to leave it behind at their home church, the Nuestra de la Merced.

Pasos through the streets of Palma

The impressive effigies borne on elaborate pasos through the streets by the brotherhoods were heartrending figures depicting grief and mourning. More than one elderly bearer was seen to be visibly struggling under the weight, no doubt paying his own private pennance or upholding a family tradition of several generations. The marching bands still played at times, but the prevailing sound was the insistent low rumble of the funerary drumbeats and there were scenes of intense emotion and fervour. Nevertheless, the participation of so many small children elevates the parade in the capital to a festive celebration.

A touching exchange of gifts took place at the Plaça de Santa Eulàlia, when Marga Prohens, president of the Balearic Government, presented bouquets of roses to the Hope and the Agony brotherhoods, which are celebrating their centenary this year. In return, they presented her with a medallion.

The parade left the Plaça de Sant Francesc soon after 7 pm and ended several hours later at the church of Socors, where the Solemn Holy Entombment Ceremony took place.

Queen absent

Queen Sofia, who was at the recently in Palma, did not attend the processions as she has sometimes done in previous years because she left the island on Holy Thursday owing to other engagements in Madrid.

The costumes worn by members of the ‘cofrarias’, meaning confraternities (brotherhoods, or nowadays also sisterhoods), date back to Medieval times, each penitent wearing a hood, tunic and belt. The colours and insignias have often been passed down for generations. Rather chilling tall, pointed hoods with eye-slits, known as ‘capirotes’, are worn to protect the wearer’s privacy in their penance and prayer.

There is a cofradia in Pilar de la Horadada, Alicante, consisting entirely of British nationals.

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Annie christmas in the Bay of Palma
Written by

Annette Christmas

Annie Christmas loves language and communication. A long-time resident of Mallorca, she enjoys an outdoor life of cycling, horse riding and mountain walking, as well as the wealth of concerts and cultural events on the island. She also plays fiddle in a traditional Mallorcan dance troupe.