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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 particularly interested in early American history and all Indigenous Peoples.

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

Click thumbnail to view full-size
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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