Holy Week in Palencia has five centuries of history behind it and is a true exhibition of art in the street.
The Holy Week of Palencia is one of the main tourist attractions, and cultural and religious events of Palencia during Holy Week in Spain. It boasts of renowned sculptures, created mainly by sculptors such as Alejo de Vahía and Víctor de los Ríos.
In addition to the artistic value of its religious imagery, the Week is characterized by devotion, tradition and silence, only interrupted by the sound of the tararú (a kind of trumpet that is characteristic of the Palencia Holy Week and accompanies the processions with its sound).
For these reasons, this celebration was declared a Festival of International Tourist Interest in 2012, and the presence of visitors from all corners of Spain and other countries is becoming more and more frequent.
A religious and solemn celebration in which about 5,000 brothers and sisters participate in charge of organizing the 20 acts and processions that make up the Easter Week of Palencia.
Also, in 2022 the Holy Week will be used to pay tribute to the VII Centenary of the Cathedral of Palencia.
The processions begin the Friday before Good Friday and continue until the Sunday of Resurrection. Hundreds of cofrades take part in the parades, carrying the pasos or walking the old streets of the city with crosses, flags or candles. Thousands of people attend the events. The pasos are the core of the festival. They consist of a wooden sculpture, or group of sculptures, that narrates a scene from the Passion of Christ. They are carried by porters, who are members of the brotherhoods, on a platform or staves.
The days of Holy Week
During the Friday and Saturday of Passion Week and into Holy Week itself, the brotherhoods make their penitential processions in Palencia.
- Friday of Sorrows
- Passion Saturday: It is the eve of Palm Sunday.
- Palm Sunday: Sunday before Easter. This day commemorates Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem.
- Holy Monday
- Holy Tuesday: On that day Jesus anticipates to his disciples the betrayal of Judas and the denials of St. Peter.
- Holy Wednesday: This day marks the end of Lent and the beginning of Easter. It commemorates the betrayal of Judas Iscariot who condemns Jesus Christ to the Cross.
- Holy Thursday: This day commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus Christ.
- Good Friday: It commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus and his death at Calvary.
- Holy Saturday: On Holy Saturday the Virgin Mary and her suffering after the death of her son are especially remembered. It is a day of prayer and recollection.
- Easter Sunday: Resurrection Sunday commemorates the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
Confraternities and Brotherhoods
There are nine confraternities and brotherhoods that participate in Palencia’s Holy Week, four of which were founded before the 17th century. They are the following ones:
- Cofradía de la Santa Vera-Cruz (Confraternity of the Holy Vera-Cruz). It is one of the most numerous and oldest of the Holy Week.
- Cofradía del Santo Sepulcro (Confraternity of the Holy Sepulcher). It is the oldest brotherhood, its beginnings date back to 1407.
- Cofradía de Jesús Nazareno (Confraternity of Jesus of Nazareth). It is the one with the largest number of brothers at present.
- Cofradía de la Soledad (Confraternity of the Soledad).
- Cofradía de Jesús Crucificado (Confraternity of Jesus Crucified).
- Archicofradía de Nuestro Padre Jesús de Medinaceli (Archconfraternity of Our Father Jesus of Medinaceli).
- Hermandad del Santísimo Cristo de la Misericordia (Brotherhood of the Holy Christ of Mercy).
- Hermandad Franciscana de la Virgen de la Piedad (Franciscan Brotherhood of the Virgen de la Piedad).
- Hermandad de Nuestro Padre Jesús de la Sentencia (Brotherhood of Our Father Jesus of the Sentence).
Religious imaginery of the Holy Week of Palencia
Within the very large collection of sculptures that can be seen in the Holy Week of Palencia, it is possible to emphasize the following ones, by their authors, their history and their sculptural quality:
- Virgin of the Seven Knives, by Vicente Espinet (1906) owned by the Confraternity of the Holy Sepulcher. It can be seen in the processions of the Holy Burial (Good Friday) and the Solitude of the Virgin (Holy Saturday).
- Our Virgin of Solitude, anonymous work of the XVIII century belonging to the Brotherhood of the Soledad, which can be seen in the procession of the Holy Way of the Cross (Holy Wednesday), in the procession of the Holy Burial (Good Friday) and in the procession of the solitude of the Virgin (Holy Saturday).
- Our Father Jesus Crucified, by Alejo de Vahía (XIV century), belongs to the Brotherhood of Jesus Crucified and is the oldest image that is exhibited in the processions of the Holy Week of Palencia. It can be seen in the procession of The five wounds (Holy Monday), in The Indult (Holy Thursday) and in the Holy Burial (Good Friday).
- The Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, by Víctor de los Ríos (1957), guarded by the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre, is carried in the Liturgical Procession of Palm Sunday and in the Entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem (both on Sunday before Easter).
- Christ of Medinaceli, anonymous work of the XVII century. It belongs to the Archconfraternity of Our Father Jesús de Medinaceli and can be seen in the processions of El Prendimiento (Holy Tuesday) and The Indult (Holy Thursday).
- Our Father Jesus of Nazareth, by Tomás de la Sierra (1717), property of the Confraternity of Jesus of Nazareth, can be seen in the procession of The Passages (Good Friday) and Silence and Penitence (Good Friday).
- Holy Christ of Mercy, from Portillo (XVI century). It belongs to the brotherhood of the same name and can be seen in the processions of the Holy Way of the Cross (Holy Wednesday), the Indult (Holy Thursday) and the Holy Burial (Good Friday).
- La Quinta Angustia, by Antonio de Amusco (1602), belonging to the Confraternity of the Holy Sepulcher, can only be seen in the procession of The fifth anguish (Holy Thursday).
- Prayer in the Garden, from the 17th century and anonymous author. Under the custody of the Penitential and Sacramental Brotherhood of the Holy Vera-Cruz, it goes out in the procession of the Prayer in the Garden (Holy Thursday).
- Christ Tied to the Column (XVII century). The Penitential and Sacramental Brotherhood of the Holy Vera-Cruz only exhibits it in the procession of The Prayer in the Garden (Holy Thursday).
- Coronation of Thorns (XVII century). This image whose author is unknown belongs to the Penitential and Sacramental Brotherhood of the Holy Vera-Cruz and can be seen in The Prayer in the Garden (Holy Thursday).
- Recumbent (XV century). It is one of the oldest and most appreciated works of the Holy Week of Palencia. It belongs to the Brotherhood of the Holy Vera-Cruz and can be seen in the procession of The Prayer of the Orchard celebrated on Holy Thursday.
Holy Week in Palencia is special, due to its imagery, the faith of many generations of Palencia’s people and its history forged over more than five centuries. In the city of Palencia the processions are organized by nine confraternities and brotherhoods in which all the brothers, regardless of their confraternity, are participants in each act.