Easter week in Alcalá la Real exudes a unique, very original sense of expressive and aesthetic refinement far removed from the religious processions. It is chiefly characterized by the merging together of religious devotion and popular revelry in processions with scenes from the Passion, living dioramas and proclamations. The origin of this tradition is found from the fusion of two traditions: autos, or misterios, which had formed part of the Corpus Christi celebrations from the 15th century; and ingenios, religious and festive representations associated with the town’s different trade guilds. These representations of Christ’s life, Passion and death were created at the end of the 16th century for Maundy Thursday, Christmas or Corpus Christi within the churches and were used to promote the Catholic doctrine.
Nowadays, the Ecce-Homo, Jesús en la Columna and Penitencia de los Apóstoles de Jesús brotherhoods take these processions to the streets during Easter Week. The town criers, dressed in mourning, declaim compositions which mix poetry and prose, each with their own individual musical feel and intonation.
A visit to the Ecce-Hommo and Jesús en la Columna brotherhood’s house allows us to become better acquainted with the distinguishing characteristics of their Easter Week. The house displays figures that they represent with their vestments and masks, as well as a family altar, another distinguishing feature of Alcalá la Real’s popular religiosity. There are also many photos showing the brothers’ religious devotion.