The processions in the larger cities of Andalucia, such as Seville, Malaga, Cordoba and Jaen, are far removed in character from the modest offerings of the smaller towns. They are spectacular events and attract crowds in their thousands both from within Spain and further afield.
Seville alone has 105 cofradias and 55 pasos. In addition to the minor processions during the week, the major processions set out from their 60 or so ‘home’ churches in the suburbs on Maunday Thursday and plan to arrive at the cathedral on the dawn of Good Friday.
In Malaga the pasos are monumental and in some cases have to be assembled outside their churches because they are too large to pass through the doorway. Many weigh more than a ton and some around 5 tons. They are carried by between 24 -54 bearers (‘hombres de trono’), many of whom are hidden from view by a large curtain so that the paso appears to be floating. The pasos are decorated with silver candelabra, richly embroidered robes and enormous numbers of aromatic flowers. The ‘Virgen de las Penas’ is clad with more than 20000 carnations. The number of participants is huge and it is not unusual for a procession to take 1½ hours to pass a particular point. Spectators look on from balconies along the route and special stands (‘tribunas’) are erected.
The bugles and drums of the smaller processions are replaced by bands. Standard bearers and a few other key personnel wear brocaded tunics. The senoras and senoritas following the major pasos wear mantillas (ornate black lace headdresses) and black dresses.