Easter in Alicante: Centuries of Cultural Heritage

Easter is a celebration of religious heritage celebrated in most of the traditionally Christian countries. Alicante‘s traditions of Semana Santa have been deeply rooted in the population for centuries.

Easter Float In Alicante

Alicante’s Easter week sees processions with people dressed in religious attire, carrying Easter floats and brass bands playing traditional religious music. Unlike other places, Easter in Spain focuses on The Passion of Christ rather than the Resurrection.

The Holly Week in Alicante can be intense and alien at the same time. Nowadays Spanish society is not especially religious but some of the traditions during Easter are widely celebrated.

Is it Worth Visiting Alicante in Easter?

Alicante is worth visiting during easter. March and April are already warm months in Alicante so it is a perfect city break to enjoy the beaches (with life-guards services active), the sun, the food and Easter traditions in Alicante, such as the easter parades.

El Postiguet Beach Alicante in Easter

Easter is a good time to visit Alicante as it doesn’t get as busy as in summer but the vibe is already summery.

When is Easter in Spain and Alicante?

Easter dates change every year and it is based on astronomy. Easter Sunday is the first Sunday right after the first astronomic full moon on the March equinox (when days start to be longer in the northern hemisphere than in the south).

The Spanish commemorate the Passion of Jesus Christ -the period and events that happened before Jesus’ death- so the important dates to annotate are from Palm Sunday to Resurrection Sunday -the time when most of the events in Alicante will happen-.

In Spain, the only national bank holiday during Easter is on Good Friday but many regions add some more extra holidays. In Alicante, Easter Monday is a regional bank holiday too. Schools have a few more days of holidays around Easter.

Here are the Holly Week dates for the next few years:

YearPalm SundayGood FridayResurrection SundayEaster Monday
202424th March30th March31st March1st April
202513th April19th April20th April21 April
202629th March4th April5th April6th April
202721st March27th March28th March29th March
20289th April15th April16th April17th April
202925th March31st March1st April2nd April
203014th April20th April21st April22nd April
Easter and Holly Week Calendar 2024-2030

Best Easter Parades to Watch in Alicante

The best Easter Parades to watch in Alicante are:

  • Palm Sunday – Processions and people celebrating with white palm tree leaves
  • Wednesday – Santa Cruz Brotherhood: In Santa Cruz Neighbourhood they parade the floats in between narrow and hilly streets
Santa Cruz Float going up to the hermitage

More information about all of this is below.

What Happens in Alicante During Easter?

The Spanish tradition at Easter is to commemorate the Passion of Jesus Christ, the period and events that happened before Jesu’s death. As you know, Easter traditions in other countries are around the resurrection -and not the death- of Jesus Christ.

The events taking place during Holly Week are mainly parades with icons, dresses and music commemorating the events before the death and the resurrection. The vibe is somehow solemn.

Counterintuitively, many people seeing the processions or even participating in the parades are not especially religious and maybe they have not even been in church in years. It is arguably safe to say that Easter in Spain is not about religion as much as it is about following traditions.

The Processions and Parades

The main events happening during the holly week are the parades.

There are many parades organised by cofradías or hermandades which we can translate as church brotherhoods.

Each church brotherhoods organise a procession on a different day during the Holly Week and each day can have more than one procession happening.

The procession usually starts from a church and all of them must parade from their church to some of the streets in the city centre as per City’s Hall mandate. The tour all brotherhoods must parade is called carrera oficial which we can translate to the official route.

Usually, Alicante’s carrera official is La Rambla Street so it is the place to see absolutely all the parades if that’s your intention.

The Easter processions are formed of 4 main elements:

  • Floats usually carried on shoulders by costaleros
Virgin Mary Float being Carried by Only Women

Most of the time, each brotherhood has two floats, one featuring an image of Christ -normally at the crucifixion- and another with the image of the Virgin Mary but some of the parades may have different or more floats.

The people carrying the floats are called costaleros. Sometimes -and depending on the brotherhood-, the Virgin Mary float is carried by only women crew and the Christ by only men. This is true only sometimes as most of the time the costaleros are women or men indistinctively. There are also lighter floats for children and teenagers.

  • Brass Bands, usually right after each of the Floats
A Brass Bands Following a Float in Alicante

The Brass Bands usually play religious music. They are professional musicians making money per parade. Usually, the musicians are somehow stable in one Brass Band and they sometimes travel around different cities to fill up the demand for bands during easter.

  • Nazarenos -the people parading with religious attires and usually carrying small religious icons-
Nazarenos Waiting With Crosses At the Curch’s Entrance

Between floats, the nazarenos parade in different formations. They usually carry different stuff. Sometimes it is sweets for the children but other times they carry candles, wooden crosses or religious standards.

  • Manolas -women dressing in black-
Manolas In Alicante

The manolas have their origin in dictatorial Spain. Women had banned being nazarenos in the parades but still had an essential role in preparing the clothing and decoration of the floats.

Around the XIX century, some of these women were allowed to parade in the processions using traditional clothing used on Sundays to go to church: a black dress, peineta and mantilla. Since then to our days this tradition has been kept despite the fact gender is not used to ban people anymore.

  • Church brotherhoods representatives or authorities
Parade Representatives in an Easter Procession in Alicante

In different places of the processions, there are different representatives. Sometimes they invite “honorific” people such as politicians -like in the photo above where Alicante’s city mayor in 2023, Luis Barcala, is parading too-. Other times they are church representatives or brotherhood directives.

Other Events During Easter

There is much more happening during easter in Alicante.

Palm Sunday

Parades with huge palm tree leaves prepared for the occasion.


Another interesting tradition are the saetas -a religious song-, more common in Andalucia but a tradition also of some of the parades in Alicante.


Masses are common during easter but they are more popular among the people following the festivity as a Christian tradition rather than a popular celebration.

Stations of the Cross

Called Via Crucis in Spanish, is a commemoration of events that happened on the day of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion. This is also mainly followed among people celebrating the religious Semana Santa rather than the general public.

Easter Day or Easter Sunday

During Easter Day –Domingo de Resurreción in Spanish- some processions happen during the morning and they parade to Alicante’s city hall.

In Alicante, there is a singular event happening during this parade at the city hall. Thousands of little papers with religious images -called aleluyas– are dropped from the city’s hall balconies to the floats and the public:

Aleluyas being dropped to the floats and the public from Alicante’s city hall

Easter Monday

Called Lunes de Pascua in Spanish it is an important day where monas are eaten. In Alicante, they are traditional pastry bread with a boiled egg on it. In other Spanish regions, monas are different.

A common Alicantinian tradition during Easter Monday is to meet your friends and family for a short trip nearby the sea or in the mountains where to have lunch together in nature.

For many families, the tradition mandates squashing the boiled egg in someone else’s head in order to break the eggshell and to be able to peel it. Funny fights happen this day in all families.

Semana Santa Dressing

Something to note is that many cofradias‘ attires include a capirote -a hood with a conic shape and holes in the eyes-. It can remind certain sects in other countries. The Easter traditions in Spain are way older than these sects. Semana Santa traditions, including the dressing, originated in the XV century.

Nazarenos With Capirote in Alicante

All brotherhoods share the same style of attire: hoods, tunics, capirotes, the Manolas dresses, and iconography… But each congregation has different styles and colours, sometimes darker, other times colourful. It is up to each brotherhood tradition how they dress.

Traditional Easter Food in Alicante

  • torrijas
  • mona de pascua
  • toñas

History of easter in Alicante

Alicante’s Semana Santa starts around the year 1600. The origin took place in a little hermitage in the current Alicante city centre. In this little church, resided Virgen de la Soledad or Virgin of Solitude.

Alicantinians founded in the hermitage a brotherhood called Purísima Sangre de Cristo or Pure Blood of Christ that would parade every Easter Friday in a procession conveniently called Entierro de Cristo or Burial of Christ. There is more about the history of Semana Santa in Alicante on this page (in Spanish).