Holy Week. Unique Festival
This festival has been declared to be of Tourist Interest by the Provincial Council of Málaga.
Please check with the local Town Hall or Municipal Tourism Office for the festival date before planning any sightseeing activities.
Arriate enjoys a very short yet earnest and devoted Passion that brings about a significant transformation in the town during the most solemn penitential season. These are reunion days since family members residing out of the municipality return to experience Holy Week with their relatives. At this time of year, the town is beautifully adorned to celebrate one of its most celebrated festivals. And with good reason, considering Arriate Brotherhoods are centenary: the origins of the Cofradía de Nuestro Padre Jesús go back to the 17th century, while the Hermandad del Santísimo Cristo de la Sangre y Santo Entierro de Cristo was canonized in 1728 and founded at the end of the 16th century.
Interestingly, the Semana Grande in this mountain town has the Jesuits and the so-called Cristinos separated. The former belongs to the Brotherhood of Santísimo Cristo de la Sangre y Santo Entierro (Holy Christ of Blood and Holy Burial), and parade their Holy Images on carved and gilded wooden floats.
In particular, the Santo Entierro de Cristo (the Holy Burial float) is a majestic piece of work of the Seville-born sculptor Antonio Castillo Lastrucci. Graced with majestic red carnations and the coffin with a recumbent Christ, and carried by four polychrome angels and four Passion children, it is an impressive, solemn image.
As for the Jesuits, they are the brethren in the Real, Muy Antigua y Venerable Cofradía de Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno (Royal, Old and Venerable Brotherhood of Our Father Jesus Nazarene). They take out two floats on Maundy Thursday. The first one shows Jesus with His hands tied, standing on a silver plated throne from the workshop of the Sevillian silversmith Miguel de los Ríos. It is paraded at dawn (6:30 a.m.) when the Hermano Mayor knocks on the doors for the procession to El Callejón, where Father Jesus has given His blessing to the people of Arriate for the past 300 years. Then, at midnight, Father Jesus carries His Cross, helped by Simon of Cyrene, on a gold and silver float made by the Angulo Brothers from Lucena, and accompanied by the Virgen de los Dolores (Our Lady of Sorrows)—by Castillo Lastrucci. The night is marked by mystery and ceremony as the procession goes through the main streets, highlighting the moment when Jesus meets the Virgin Mary.
Arriate is the only town in the entire province to celebrate a procession on Holy Saturday: the Santo Entierro de Cristo (the Holy Burial of Christ). During this solemn procession, the Jesuits wear their traditional purple robes and white hoods, while the Cristinos wear black belted robes and red hoods.