Living Passion of Balmaseda

Living Passion of Balmaseda

Location Balmaseda

Every Holy Week, Balmaseda, a town near Bilbao, hosts a presentation of the Stations of the Cross (Via Crucis) performed by residents of the town. Currently, more than 700 people participate in this extraordinary tradition, which has been preserved for centuriesand which attracts thousands of visitors to Balmaseda every year.


Although some writers state that it dates back to 1480, when a plague epidemic devastated the town, there are no documents confirming its existence until 1771, when the “Holy Week and Corpus Christi Processions” are mentioned in municipal documents for the first time.


In the 19th century, new elements such as the ‘penitents’ or ‘Nazarenes’ (as they are called in Spain), the ‘Pharisees’ or soldiers of the Roman guard were introduced, and they have become some of the most distinctive elements even today. In the last decade of the 19th century, the main protagonist of Holy Week, Jesus of Nazareth (the ‘Nazarene’), is mentioned for the first time. It is only from this moment on that this tradition can be referred to as a living representation of the Passion of Jesus. In 1963, the ‘Crucifixion’ was included in the representation, and is undoubtedly the high point of the performance.

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