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Easter in Estepona

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Peterborough...
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Easter in Estepona

We really like Estepona, we was going to buy a flat in Seville but my sister has got a flat in Estepona and its very nice so we have given up on Seville. We're going to go for Easter, I'm glad I've found this question forum, what's Easter like in Esteponma? Iknow about the beautifull streets, they're beautifull, but what else is going on? And there are lots of nice parks to sit and squares too with bars, we have lots of favourite bars!

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1. Re: Easter in Estepona

Yes there's several nice squares with bars. One is a bit like orange square in Marbella

Couple of nice parks

The Seafront Passeo is very pleasant.

a bit further out is the Puerto which is picturesque with a sunday morning market.

easter is a lovely time to go. The tourist office will tell you of any events

Where is the flat... in town or one of the nearby urbanisations?

Check out www.andalucia.com and www.manilvalife.com. Both good forums

Estepona, Spain
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2. Re: Easter in Estepona

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Yes, as Trickster says, Estepona is a lovely place to be, and at Easter, with the scent of the orange blossom in the air . . . it's heavenly!

Check out the reviews and look at the photos on what Trickster and I both consider the top sights:

* The beautiful Old Town: tripadvisor.co.uk/…REVIEWS

* The marina: tripadvisor.co.uk/…REVIEWS

* The paseo maritimo seafront promenade: tripadvisor.co.uk/…REVIEWS

* The Plaza de las Flores square : tripadvisor.co.uk/…REVIEWS

I could add more sights - but you can see them on the TripAdvisor Things To Do listings.

You'll have a wonderful time, I'm sure!

.

Estepona, Spain
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3. Re: Easter in Estepona

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I have just thought . . . by Easter, did you mean Holy Week in Estepona, the week before Easter? The week with all the religious processions?

Holy Week is special all through Spain, but it is especially special in Estepona, for three reasons.

Firstly, Estepona is a small town. While this means that there are not as many spectacular processions as in Malaga and Seville, it also means that the town is not crowded out with enormous numbers of people, so you can see things better, and get a real feel for the occasion. It’s a family occasion, and people will run into the procession to kiss their cousin, or leave the procession to kiss their granny. :-) You don’t get that in the big towns as the processions are carefully policed to avoid crowd trouble.

Secondly, Estepona, when it re-started its Easter processions in 1982, was a poor town, so the Hermandades bought second-hand floats to carry their Holy Statues. So some of them bought from Malaga, the “tronos” with long exterior poles, often covered with silver or beautifully carved, and the bearers (called portadores or hombres de trono) outside.

Other Hermandades bought second-hand “pasos” from Seville, where the bearers, poor things, are in the dark, underneath the float, carrying the weight – sometimes a ton or more – on the back of their necks. They wear special cloths wrapped round their heads with a pad at the back of the neck where the wooden structure rests, and a long piece of material going down their back to catch their sweat. This is a much more onerous task for them, and there are relief teams throughout the processions. These undercover bearers are called “costaleros”, and there is a statue in homage to them in the Calle Real here in Estepona.

So the second advantage of Estepona for Holy Week is that you get to see both types.

The third advantage is that there is a very unusual “Children’s Brotherhood” which joins in some of the adult processions, but also has its own mini-procession, with special light floats for them to carry. It is on the Monday of Holy Week, starting at 8pm (roughly) from the Avenida San Lorenzo and going along the Calle Real.

This is a lovely event, very unusual, and well worth seeing.

The Holy Week Processions relate the story of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ. There are processions in Estepona on six days from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday – you can get a leaflet in the Tourist Office in the Plaza de las Flores with the full details, including the routes. The two Sunday ones are in the daytime, the others are in the evening and night. All of the processions go along the Calle Real and the lower part of the Calle Terraza, and this is where there are the crowds. In the Plaza Antonia Guerrero they have the official Viewing Seats for the Town dignitaries.

It’s often better to watch them along the Camino del Padre Cura, or the Avenida San Lorenzo, or near the door where some of them come out of the church of Nuestra Senora del Carmen, just off the seafront, as there are fewer people. Check the leaflet – it has a map with the routes marked.

If you can stay up late enough (well after midnight), a wonderful place to be is where they have the “Encuentro” for some of the processions – look on the leaflet for details – it’s the Wednesday and Thursday ones. Encuentro means meeting, and what happens is that the two statues – one of Christ, one of the Virgin – meet and greet. :-). They do a sort of dance, rocking from side to side, moving back and forward, bowing to each other. All this while the bearers are bearing an enormous weight. Impressive, do try and see it.

So what is in each procession?

Each procession is organised by a Hermandad – brotherhood – which is a religious and charitable organisation. People belong to the one their parents belong to. You pay a monthly subscription which covers the enormous cost of the processions – just imagine how much those candles cost, and the flowers, to say nothing of the cost of occasional replacing of the velvet capes and the dresses embroidered with real gold thread.

The procession starts with a Standard-bearer from the Hermandad, someone carrying a cross, the parish priest, probably the Chief of Police and a few other dignitaries. They are followed by the “nazarenos” or “penitentes” – the ones that you most associate with these processions.

The nazarenos are dressed in satin tunics, different colours for each Hermandad and procession, with girdles, the Hermandad badge, and a hood – either pointed or floppy – that covers their face. Small children – and you’ll see babes-in-arms - don’t wear the hood as it frightens them.

You may also see “promesas” – people who made a vow that they would walk in the procession in exchange for God answering their prayer. These people walk barefooted (for 5 hours!) or carrying a pretty heavy cross, or signifying in some other way their gratitude for favours received. One year there were two who were walking backwards!

There are also “mantillas”. These are female members of the Hermandad who are the official mourners for the death of Christ. Dressed from head to high-heeled toe in black, with silver jewellery, they wear the high combs and black lace mantillas of tradition.

Oh and at least one sometimes two bands. If there are two, they play different tunes and are generally in competition. :-)

But of course the main elements of the processions are the floats – the pasos or tronos.

There are two, with Christ at the front and the Virgin at the back. The Virgin’s float is much larger and more elaborate, and has a canopy. At the front of both floats is a bell or a knocker, which the Float Leader – a chap in a smart suit wearing the emblem of the Hermandad – uses to give instructions to the bearers. He will ring the bell or give a sharp knock to tell them to turn a corner, to put the float down for a rest, or when it’s time to lift it up and start off again. When they lift it up they get applause from the watchers – including you, so be ready! Other occasions when you need to clap is when they do a “subida a pulso” – lifting the poles up high on their outstretched arms, like a set of dumbbells, or the swaying dance that the pasos do from time to time. The Costaleros are, of course, underneath in the dark, so they have to practice these movements a lot beforehand.

Incidentally, a couple of the lighter floats are carried solely by women bearers; there are also a couple of costaleras – strong young women among the male bearers under the pasos.

You have to be a member of the Hermandad and pay to be a bearer, mantilla or nazareno.

At the very end of the procession there comes a team of town council street cleaners on overtime, sweeping up any litter. The next morning a different team will be out using steam cleaners to get rid of the candle wax that has dripped on the floor.

One final thing – you may be lucky enough to hear a “saeta”. This is a spontaneous song to the Virgin, sung by a bystander in flamenco style. Very moving.

The bars are open until well after the end of the processions, as they do a roaring trade. You’ll have a wonderful time watching the processions!

.

England
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4. Re: Easter in Estepona

Great post inglesa

I find the sight of the rows of men, one hand on the shoulder of the man in front, gently rocking from side to side to the beat of the band, as they advance through the streets with the heavy load on their shoulders, particuarly moving. They are graded in height so the load is evenly distributed. I'd be no good as my little legs are too short and I'd be dangling off the beam.

Once, in Benahavis, we watched a procession. A man went ahead with a prop to lift the electric cables so they could pass under. Unfortunately since the previous year a cable had been instaled inside a metal conduit and couldn't be lifted. Caused all sorts of mayhem.

Estepona, Spain
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5. Re: Easter in Estepona

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Glad you liked it, Trickster!

I have made it into an article, with loads of photos

tripadvisor.co.uk/Travel-g187437-s4/Estepona…

England
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6. Re: Easter in Estepona

Brilliant Turista.

Being nosey, I looked at your profle. You joined in 2008, did few posts but lots of reviews for 6 years, and have now suddenly burst into life with posts and reviews all over the place.

I thought I knew the CDS quite well, but your reviews have given me a new insight.

thanks and keep up the good work.

Edited: 11 March 2014, 15:29
England
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7. Re: Easter in Estepona

Forgot to say.....

Once in Estepona we witnesed the procession where they take the virgin onto a raft and out to sea (In aug I think)

It was misty that evening and very atmospheric.

Edited: 11 March 2014, 15:31
Estepona, Spain
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8. Re: Easter in Estepona

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Trickster, yes, I am confined to home in a London suburb with stupid infections so am amusing myself on TripAdvisor. :-)

Retired and spend just under half the year in Spain, a good amount of time in France each summer too, so loads to write about.

I have known Estepona for over 45 years. :-) An Oldie, that's me. :-)

And that procession is Nuestra Senora del Carmen, yes it's in the summer holidays, 16 July. There are a couple of photos of it with this review:

tripadvisor.co.uk/…UR188688356

Glad you like what I write. While my infection lasts, I'll write more!

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9. Re: Easter in Estepona

We first came to Estepona in 1986. The changes along the whole coast since then have been immense.

I think I'm right in saying that before the tourism boom Andalucia and particuarly the poor agricultural land by the sea was considered one of the poorest parts of Spain. Laurie Lee walked from Gib to Alumenecar(?) at the start of the civil war and comment on the change when he went back decades later.

With your extra years you must have seen it change out of all recognition.

Do you have any reminicences?

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10. Re: Easter in Estepona

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Reminiscences? Poor area?

My husband, who was born and bred down the coast in Algeciras, remembers that as a child they would have queues of people outside their back door on feast days, because their family (which was middle class) and others similarly placed would cook extra food on big occasions to give away to poor families.

He also remembers that it was pretty common to see barefooted people. Not just children, adults.

Poverty was rife.

:-(