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Holy Week and the Easter Dishes of Malaga Spain

Updated on March 27, 2018
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty collects recipes and gadgets from the past and is interested in early American history, the Civil War, and the 19th century.

Holy Week in Malaga is Semana Santa

A beautiful park in Malaga.
A beautiful park in Malaga.

Spain is Intriguing for Culture and Food

I have never traveled to Spain, but know a few people who have done so. Watching various sporting events telecast for that country, I have become fascinated with Spain and its cultures. .

A couple I know married in a catered event that copied an entire bullfight, except for harming any animal, and the wedding was magnificent!

They hired a company to rent a stadium and put on a mock 18th century bullfight with actors portraying the King and Queen of Spain, the royal court, lesser royalty, and commoners in the stands as well - all in full costume. Wedding guests had been assigned parts. Royal trumpets and other musicians announced the agenda of the event, activity by activity, and it was unique and memorable. A royal feast followed for the reception. The photos were incredible.

Palm Sunday through Easter as a week makes a visible attraction as well as a traditional religious holiday in Malaga. It is a very special holiday here.

Panoramic view of Malaga, Spain.
Panoramic view of Malaga, Spain. | Source

The 1992 Olympics in Barcelona that featured the Catalan Region of Spain grabbed my attention as well, presenting some of the history of Catalan and its singular language.

The music and traditions worked into the opening and closing ceremonies were unforgettable, especially the "stacks" of humans almost like human pyramids -- towers made up of men standing on one another man's shoulders in circles of decreasing size up to about 100 feet high. The Tree Tenors sang.

I was hooked on Spain and began to read and talk to people about it. This interested me in Mexico and a renewal of my readings about that nation as well and I became more aware of Spanish and Mexican actors [Antonio Banderos - Malaga; Ricardo Montalban -Mexico City] and musicians, whom I had always admired.

Malagueta Beach
Malagueta Beach | Source

Holy Week in Malaga - Semana Santa

I have been astounded with the history of Holy Week before Easter in Malaga, Spain and elsewhere in the southern region.

I was startled by the robes that reminded me of Ku Klux Klan uniforms, but worn by Catholics in Malaga. The KKK obviously copied them from the Spanish or similar peoples, but that is not proven. I found that these robes are called nazareno robes of penance and are of several colors worn by certain people walking in the parades or processions held during Holy Week.

Each color denotes a particular procession and these robes were most widely worn i history during Medieval years by those who might declare their penance openly -- However, they were masked to the population to avoid conflict and attack.

Semana Santa - Easter

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A typical Easter display during Holy Week.Jesus Christ riding the Donkey on Palm Sunday
A typical Easter display during Holy Week.
A typical Easter display during Holy Week. | Source
Jesus Christ riding the Donkey on Palm Sunday
Jesus Christ riding the Donkey on Palm Sunday | Source

Nazareno Robes of Penance

The robed penitents of Holy Week in Malaga carry candles or wooden crosses as they walk through the streets, often barefoot.

In some places in Malaga, the penitents carry heavy chains and wear them around their ankles. At the same time, celebrants along the route sometimes dress as Roman warriors of Christ's time, making the celebration more realistic. In that way, people see the persecution of Christ as well as his anguish.

These scenes are quite startling, because penitents also carry a heavy litter containing a figure of the Virgin Mary and another litter bearing a standing Christ figure that is Himself carrying a cross. These images evoke strong emotions.

The Procession in Malaga
The Procession in Malaga | Source

Malaga, Andalusia, Spain - Southern Coast

Malaga, Spain:
Málaga, Spain

get directions

Antequera Estepa Gate & Bullring in Malaga

The following recipes are particularly loved in Malaga, Spain during Holy Week from Palm Sunday through Easter Sunday. However, these dishes can be prepared throughout the year. Each recipe serves four people.

Semana Santa Recipes

Garbanzos with Cod


  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 Red onions, sliced thin; 2 Yellow bell peppers, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/4 teaspoon saffron
  • 1/2 Cup white wine
  • 1 Cup grape or cherry tomatoes, 2 Cups drained/rinsed garbanzos
  • 1 LB cod, cut to 1-inch squares, 1 Cup Spring water


  1. Heat oil over medium heat and sauté onions and peppers until onions are translucent (5-6 min.).
  2. Add paprika and cumin and sauté 1 min.; add wine and saffron and stir.
  3. Add tomatoes, garbanzos, cod, and water and simmer on medium low heat until cod is lightly cooked - 10 min. or less. Serves 4 - 6.

VEGETARIAN : Garbanzos with Spinach


  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 ( 14 - 15 oz) can garbanzos, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 Cup diced onion, 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 Cup sofrito Spanish sauce
  • A 6 oz. bag baby spinach leaves, washed and patted dry
  • 1/2 tsp salt, ¼ tsp ground red pepper, 1/4 tsp pepper


  1. Pre-heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Pour in oil and swirl around to coat bottom of pan.
  2. Add beans, onions, and garlic to cook 4 min., stirring 3-4 times. Add sofrito and stir; reduce heat to medium for 4 min. until heated through.
  3. Add all other ingredients and stir. Cover the pan and cook 3 min. until spinach wilts and serve as a main dish for 4 or side dish for 6.

Spanish Rice Pudding - No Added Sugar!

This pudding does not require any sugar at all.


  • 1 Cup long grain rice, 1 ½ Cup Spring water, 2 Cinnamon sticks
  • 1 10-12 oz. can condensed milk
  • 1 10-12 oz. can evaporated milk
  • 1 Cup whole milk (others will not thicken up)
  • ½ Cup raisins, light or dark
  • Cinnamon powder for dusting presentation


  1. Bring water to boiling, add rice & cinnamon sticks and reduce to medium heat and cook until majority of water evaporates. Do not burn. Pour in all the milks slowing and stir.
  2. Stir constantly for 15 - 20 minutes until rice becomes soft.
  3. Remove cinnamon sticks and add raisins. Stir and remove from heat.
  4. Serve in dessert/sundae dishes, topped with cinnamon powder. Serves 4-6.
  5. Can also be used as a dessert filling.

Golden Sweet Potato Flan


  • 1 ½ Lb Yellow Sweet Potatoes
  • ¾ Cup Honey or Sugar, ¼ Cup Sweet Sherry, Spanish if you have it.
  • ½ Cup Whole Milk, ½ Cup Light Cream
  • 4 Whole Eggs, 1 tsp Cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and cooking-spray a 9-inch flan pan/pie tin.
  2. Wash and then bake sweet potatoes until soft, remove from oven and cool.
  3. Peel potatoes, chunk and blend in a blender with sweetener, sherry, milk, cream, eggs and cinnamon,
  4. Pour into the baking dish and bake 45 to 50 minutes until firm. Remove and chill to serve, but try it warm as well.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
More of Malaga, Spain.A view in Malaga.
More of Malaga, Spain.
More of Malaga, Spain. | Source
A view in Malaga.
A view in Malaga. | Source

© 2008 Patty Inglish MS


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    • Malaga-Holidays profile image


      10 years ago from Malaga

      Very useful information here, thanks for sharing Patty!

    • maggs224 profile image


      11 years ago from Sunny Spain

      Hi Patty yours is the first hubpage that I have visited and I was inspired by this page to do my own. I am English but living in Spain so I started with Semana Santa in Villajoyosa. Thanks for the inspiration. Maggie

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      11 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Peggy -- How exciting that you were able to attend that event! I hoep you write about your trip and events very soon. Thanks for the kind words on my writings. A handful of words thrown down without thought is not enough imo. :)

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      11 years ago from Houston, Texas

      We were fortunate enough to get to attend the opening ceremonies in Barcelona for the olympics and it was amazing! An experience we will never forget! Will have to write about some of our experiences in Spain...

      Your recipes as always sound so good. You certainly put your heart and soul into your hubs.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      12 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      It is sounding more frightening all the time! I wonder if a horror novel has been written about this... Thankfully, we can make the food and skip the parades and processions if we want to do so.

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      12 years ago from France

      It is creepy, as I said, for me the worst part was to see the self-flagellation. Mind you, carrying those saints is not easy job neither, one of those things can weight tons because of the materials used to model the saints and the silver and gold ornaments. What it is most amazing, is that it is very difficult to be accepted as a “carrier” you need to belong to "the fraternity" and even then is not easy to be chosen.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      12 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Thanks for visiting, Princessa.

      I know a little about what you mean - One character in the novel, The Davinci Code, did the self-flagellation to far extremes! I did not see the film because I did not wish to witness this,  

      What is creepiest to me is seeing the large litters the robed people carry with figures of the Virgin Mary and Jesus sitting or standing on them - and recalling deceased popes covered in wax. Brrrrrrr. Spine chilling.

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      12 years ago from France

      These are some delicious recipes.

      I have been during Semana Santa in Malaga and I have witnessed the processions, to be honest it was a bit scary all those people in fancy “KKK” robes and even worst the people who punish themselves to the point of bleeding while walking on the procession. Certainly I rather just enjoy the food and wine during Semana Santa than go again to one of those processions!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      12 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      haha, you are correct, ajcor! I hate waste.

    • ajcor profile image


      12 years ago from NSW. Australia

      I think it better to eat the tomatoes than to throw them lol

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      12 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      O Yes! Last Saturday of August, i.e. TODAY! haha, we're missing it.

    • cgull8m profile image


      12 years ago from North Carolina

      Would love to visit Spain and Malaga. Do they also have the tomato throwing festival? I am fascinated with all the different food varieties in the world.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      12 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      It is delicious with the three kinds of milk and rich tasting. You can add 2 tsp vanilla if you like and cook a bit longer.

    • ajcor profile image


      12 years ago from NSW. Australia

      great hub - will try the rice pudding recipe -


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