Euskadi Basque Country
Basque Country




Easter in the Basque Country

Easter in the Basque Country

Holy Week is the Christian holidays from Palm Sunday to Resurrection Sunday, although these days also include the previous Friday (Holy Friday).


These days, Biscay focuses on Balmaseda and Bilbao, since the celebrations are very spectacular in both cities.

Every year masses of visitors meet up in Balmaseda's Way of Sorrows. For months, Balmaseda inhabitants have been rehearsing to show realism during the acts that are accompanied by processions and chants. Over 500 inhabitants perform different scenes from the life of Jesus on Maundy Thursday and Holy Friday. On Maundy Thursday, those who attend will enjoy "The Last Supper", "Prayer in Gethsemane" and "the Seizure of Jesus". As for Holy Friday, at 9am Roman guards play the drums announcing they are ready for the trial of Jesus before Pilato, the Hanging of Judas and a procession down the streets up to the spot where the scene of the Crucifixion will take place.

In Bizkaia's capital, Bilbao, over 3,000 members of religious brotherhoods take part in every single procession from Holy Friday to Holy Saturday. They accompany "Pasos", which are statues of great artistic value. The Penitents' Procession is outstanding. It marches through the neighbourhood of San Francisco, where Flamenco verses (Saetas) are sung and the Silent Procession takes place early morning through the Old Town of Bilbao also known as Siete Calles.


Until nealy 40 years ago, most towns in Gipuzkoa preserved their processions. The Second Vatican Council and changes in daily life customs resulted in the disappearance of many of them, although nowadays little by litte they are reviving.

As for Azkoitia, celebrations in this town give the chance to enjoy calmness and time for thoughts. Meantime, onlookers will be able to enjoy the rich folklore though religious rituals that also include processions. Outstanding among the series of activities organised in Azkoitia on this occasion is the procession of the holy burial on Holy Friday evening, when the tomb of Christ and Our Lady of Sorrows is carried through the streets, accompanied by candles and frankincense to the beat of the "armatus" and The Funeral March.

Inhabitants of coastal Hondarribia celebrate Holy Friday and Resurrection Sunday with enthusiasm. On Friday at 5pm the Parish Church witnesses the solemn procession where the Christ's descent from the cross takes place, wrapped up in a 5-m cloth.

By tradition, Segura still celebrates Easter. Processions take place on Maundy Thursday and Holy Friday. Nazarenes, Penitents, Roman soldiers and musicians participate in religious marches along with floats and sculptures that have been kept over centuries in the Parish Church.


Many regions of Álava perform events and processions to recall the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ from Maundy Thursday to Resurrection Day. Among other celebrations, it is required to attend processions in Vitoria and Laguardia. Besides, on Resurrection Sunday in areas such as Salinas de Añana, Baños de Ebro and Lagrán, the "Burning of Judas" should be attended. In Moreda de Álava as well, the apostle who betrayed Jesus is burnt at the stake with Judesa, his couple.

About 300 Nazarenes or penitents accompany the Silent Procession and the Holy Burial on Maundy Thursday and Holy Friday in Vitoria-Gasteiz respectively, which has been celebrated over the past four centuries. The Resurrection Day is held in the New Cathedral, where the faithful attend the blessing of palm leaves.
Date: 29/03/2018 - 02/04/2018
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