Easter on Mallorca is the biggest festival in the Christian calendar, and an incredible celebration of the Passion of Christ by the island’s faithful. The processions held during Semana Santa, or Holy Week, follow a strict set of rules, and are organised every year by historical brotherhoods. Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Saturday and Easter Sunday are the high points of Holy Week, drawing spectators from all around the world. Afterwards the Eater celebrations on the island take on more of a family feel, with day trips and outdoor picnics.
Holy Week on Mallorca is perfect for:
Re-enacting the sufferings of Christ in processions at Easter is an important tradition in many areas of Spain, including Palma de Mallorca. Alongside Christmas, Easter is the most important time of year for Christians in Spain, and Passion plays to mark this occasion are a centuries-old tradition. We know this from historical documents that tell of the procession in Palma on Maundy Thursday in 1564, when the depiction of the crucifixion of Holy Christ of the Blood was ceremonially accompanied by the brotherhood of the same name. The procession was originally held to collect donations for the hospital in Palma. Together with the image of the Virgin Mary - the city’s patron saint - Christ of the Blood is the most revered religious image in Palma and across all of Mallorca.
In Palma de Mallorca, the Holy Week of Semana Santa traditionally begins on Palm Sunday with a Mass at which attendees bear palm and olive branches. Late in the afternoon on Maundy Thursday, the Mallorcan capital’s most important Easter procession - the Procession of Christ of the Blood - begins. A total of nine processions take place during Semana Santa, with participants from around 30 brotherhoods of the Balearic Islands - and an increasing number of sisterhoods, too. As early as midday, the first visitors start arriving to secure the best spots to watch the processions, as this emotional event attracts hundreds of thousands of spectators from around the world every Easter. In the late afternoon, the first costumed riders and masked penitents appear, in peaked hoods to preserve their anonymity. The revered image of Jesus, accompanied by drums, flowers, candles and men in chains, stirs the souls of those watching from the side of the street. After midnight, at about twelve-thirty in the morning, the Procession of Holy Christ of the Blood streams back in through the main gates of Palma’s cathedral, together with the bishop and countless members of the congregation. The end of the procession is marked with fervent prayers in honour of Jesus Christ.
Most businesses on the largest of the Balearic Islands remain closed on Good Friday, with the exception of holiday hotspots. Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Monday are all public holidays on Mallorca, so no-one in Palma has to go to work. Many more outstanding Mallorcan Holy Week events take place on Good Friday, attended by countless enthusiastic visitors and participants. One example of this is Palma’s ceremonial Holy Burial Procession, which starts at 7.30 pm on Good Friday in Sant Francesc. Every year on this special day, hundreds of visitors flock to the picturesque town of Pollença just as darkness begins to fall to watch the atmospheric torchlight re-enactment of the Descent from the Cross, following the drums and lanterns down the steps of Mount Calvario to the parish church. During the procession, the statue of Christ is covered in black lace cloth. Upon their arrival in the church, the congregation holds a celebratory Midnight Mass. Sineu also has its own celebration of the Holy Burial, which begins around 11 pm with the Sant Entierro procession. On Good Friday, Passion Plays, processions and theatrical religious performances are held for Christ of the Blood.
After the martyrium on Maundy Thursday and the Holy Burial on Good Friday, the Easter celebrations continue on Easter Saturday and Easter Sunday. On Easter Saturday in particular, the locals love to eat empanadas - pastries filled with meat or fish. The sweet version, known as robiols and filled with jam or cottage cheese, are just as delicious. The leftover pastry is traditionally used to make crespells, a type of biscuit. Chocolate eggs are very popular at Easter on the island of Mallorca, as part of the traditional Easter cake, Mona de Pascua. In keeping with an old Mallorcan custom, these cakes are given to children by their godparents. The Saturday of Easter weekend is actually a normal work day on Mallorca – perfect for shopping and sightseeing! Easter Sunday is when the most important Easter Masses are held, like the 8:00 am Mass in Llucmajor, just outside Palma. After this, a procession of men carries the statue of Jesus to the Church of the Meeting in the main square, where they meet the women carrying the figure of the Virgin Mary from the parish church. There is also a very popular market on Easter Sunday. Another of the impressive spectacles on offer at Easter on Mallorca is the Processions of the Brotherhoods in Manacor. On the evenings of Wednesday, Thursday and Good Friday during Semana Santa, a procession of penitents parades through the streets of Manacor in their peaked hoods with eyeholes. The last procession takes place at the crack of dawn on Easter Sunday.
Just like Easter Sunday, Easter Monday and Easter Tuesday are also public holidays on Mallorca. These are the days when most of the island’s pilgrimages (romerías) take place, such as the Pancaritat from Algaida to Nostra Senyora de la Pau church in Castellitx. The atmosphere during these events is light-hearted, not unlike a village fête. The shops in Palma are closed on Easter Monday. On Divine Mercy Sunday, the Sunday after Easter, a joyful fête for all the family is held in Palma’s castle. Many locals see Easter as a time for picnics with their extended families , or to eat out at one of the many restaurant’s the island’s towns and villages have to offer. They also love to get out into the countryside, or visit relatives once the processions are over. After a scenic hike or bike ride along the Vía Verde or up to the Santuari de Lluc monastery, many treat themselves to a dip in the sea to cool off – though the water in April isn’t likely to be warmer than 15 or 16 degrees. However, a pleasant sunbathe in the 24-degree spring air is the perfect way to warm up again. The temperature of the water and air is consistent everywhere on the island. There are plenty of beautiful beaches to choose from, including in the bay of Palma, Colonia de Sant Jordí and Cala Millor. These offer the perfect opportunity to get away from traditions and customs, and discover the incredible diversity of the Mallorcan countryside!