Easter in Villajoyosa

Semana Santa (Holy Week) is a seriously big event in Spain. The processions of the hooded penitents in Sevilla and other Spanish cities are spectacular celebrations of faith.

Here in Villajoyosa (known locally as La Vila Joiosa, or La Vila for short), they’re obviously not quite on the same scale, but there are processions in the town every evening in Easter week. Here’s the list of events for Semana Santa 2019 

Each procession is organised by a different “cofradia” or brotherhood. They start from various churches around La Vila Joiosa (as Villajoyosa is known in the local Valenciano language) and finish at the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción in the Plaza de la Iglesia in the heart of the old town.

The cofradía members wear long robes and many also wear the pointed hoods, known as capirotes, a symbol of repentance.

Semana Santa
The Virgin from the church of Nuestra Señora
Semana Santa 2019
The Virgin is taken round the narrow streets of La Vila old town on the shoulders of the faithful, Easter 2019.

Perhaps the most atmospheric procession is around the narrow streets of the old town (above). There is something almost hypnotic about the rhythmic swaying of the Virgen carried on the shoulders of the costaleros, accompanied by the mournful notes of the band slow marching behind.  The procession halts at a series of altars around the old town, with an acapella hymn and a prayer at each one.

Semana Santa La Vila Joiosa 2019
Members of the Cofradia Nuestra Señora de la Caridad with their pointed hoods (capirotes) in the old town, Easter 2019.
Ecce Homo procession La Vila Joiosa
Ecce Homo procession, Villajoyosa 2019. Ecce Homo (Behold the Man) are the words said to have been spoken by Pontius Pilate when he presented Jesus to the crowds before his crucifixion.

Below is the Easter Sunday procession, with the veiled image of the “Mare de Deu” (Mother of God in Valenciano) taken from the church of Nuestra Señora through the centre of La Vila – although the weather was so bad during the Easter storms of 2019, the procession had to be cancelled.

Until this year, Spain didn’t really do Easter Eggs – not even in a town with three chocolate factories – but for some reason, they really seem to have caught on in 2019. Valor now sells them and you can also buy them in local supermarkets.

Try also a Mona de Pascua pastry. The one pictured below has a Kinder egg, though a hard boiled egg is more traditional.

Try also torrijas, the Spanish version of eggy bread, traditional at Easter. They are basically bread dipped in beaten eggs and then fried. The torrijas below also have a layer of crema catalana on top for good measure!

TORRIJAS
Torrijas (eggy bread in English). This one has been given a little extra zing with crema catalana on top!
Easter
Mona de Pascua. A traditional Easter bun in this part of Spain. This one has a Kinder egg, but traditionally it would be a hard boiled egg.

© Guy Pelham 2019

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