The Easter Wednesday procession passing Villa Ana Maria

The Easter festivities begin on Palm Sunday, with the first in a series of processions, which range from vibrantly colourful pageants to solemn, intense affairs. A common feature of Alicante’s Easter parades are nazareno, penitential robes that consist of a tunic and a hood with a capirote, or conical tip. The robes date from the medieval ages, when they were used to demonstrate a penitent’s piety while still masking their identity, and have been a part of Easter celebrations ever since.

If Palm Sunday is the prelude, then Easter Wednesday and Thursday are the main events in Alicante’s Semana Santa. On the first day, La Procession de la Santa Cruz (the Procession of the Holy Cross) takes place in the working-class district of the same name, located on the slope of the imposing Mount Benacantil. From Santa Cruz, floats beating El Cristo Gitano (the Gipsy Christ) and El Descendimiento (the Descent) wind through the old town towards the centre. These tronos are incredibly heavy, and take up to 16 men, known as costaleros, to carry — and no little skill to negotiate the narrow, winding cobbled street of El Barrio, as the old town is also known.

Wednesday is the most awaited day of the Holy Week in Alicante for one reason: the procession of Santa Cruz. It is a moment that you can´t miss. From the skirts of the Castle of Santa Barbara the costaleros (the men carrying the tronos will descend the crucified Christ of the artist Ortega Bru. It will be from 19 hour, a ‘descent’ through the narrow streets of the historic neighbourhood of Santa Cruz, full of spectacularity, danger and thousands of visitors.

Santa Cruz Easter procession video