Spanish and Semana Santa in Málaga

Written By Brandis

Hola Amigos!

Brandis here.

Last time you heard from us it was during our big week of Student Directed Travel. This week we got to spend our time in the beautiful coastal city of Málaga, Spain, where we lived in homestays, had Spanish lessons, and participated in various cultural activities during the week-long celebration of Semana Santa.

We started off this week meeting our host families and getting ready for our first day of school. When we got there we were evaluated, and then sat in on our daily 5 hours of Spanish. Super fun. By the time we were done, we would run back home and devour lunch before meeting up again for our cultural activities. The first place we visited was Alcazaba, one of the most well preserved fortresses in Spain, right in the heart of Malaga. In the following days we went to the Museum of Popular Arts, where we learned more about the history of the region. After that we went to the Museum of Malaga on our last day, and got a wonderful tour while learning about the city. When we weren’t in school, or at one of our group events, we spent our time wandering around the city center, exploring and seeing the Semana Santa processions.

Semana Santa (AKA Holy Week) is kind of a big deal in Spain, especially in Málaga, where it’s been celebrated for over 500 years. The celebration here lasts all the way from Palm Sunday until Easter Sunday. The week is filled with long processions, walked by religious brotherhoods in traditional garb, which consist of long robes and very tall pointy hats. There are also dozens of marching bands that walk along with the hundreds of people that carry the heavy golden floats through the city. They’re beautifully decorated in golden ornaments, covered in dozens of burning candles, and have a very realistic figure of Jesus, Mary, or other important people and events. One of the ones we saw was a depiction of the last supper, which was absolutely massive.

On our free days, we went and visited the beach, the Picasso museum, the museum of contemporary art, and the Carmen Thyssen museum. And on Sunday Gina, Eliana, Kayla, and I decided to attend 2 of the group member’s churches. First we went to Kayla’s LDS church and I came up with a pretty good joke – “A Catholic, a Jew, and an Atheist walk into a Mormon church…” and that’s all I’ve got so far. Any comedic input would be greatly appreciated. After that we attended the Spanish Catholic Easter mass, which was quite an experience.

On our last day, after saying goodbye to our host families and our new friends at school, we packed up our big bags and left them in Málaga, ready to set off for 2 weeks with our daypacks.

As for how our weeks were:

I ended up going to the hospital on the first day for an infected spider bite, and cried at an accordion player while on my meds. Fun times.

Gina became enamored with Antonio Banderas.

Eliana was accidentally bleaching her feet for the last week.

Clemente surprisingly trashed his his $3 Gucci flipflops.

Geoff spent 3 days trying to find the Magic the Gathering store, and when he did, wouldn´t leave.

Kayla succeeded in expanding her awesome record collection.

Vanesia keeps getting confused with random strangers´ friends.

And Tori had a fun time shopping on the first day, until she threw up in her water bottle.

Just 2 weeks left in our trip everyone!

You’ll hear from us soon. Next destination: Granada!


One of the main streets in Malaga.


Two of the large parade floats.


Some procession goers in the traditional clothing.


Eliana taking masterfully taking a picture of Vanesia.
Group picture at the beach.


The Malaga cathedral.


Beautiful view at the beach.