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Rain in Spain mars Holy Week parades

AFP
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Rain in Spain mars Holy Week parades
Bystanders shelter from the rain under umbrellas as a penitent of the La Paz brotherhood takes part in a procession in Seville. Photo: CRISTINA QUICLER/ AFP.

Many worshippers were left in tears Monday as the heavens opened with untimely bouts of rain that prompted the cancellation of many Holy Week parades.

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After many traditional processions were called off on Palm Sunday, which marks the start of Holy Week, more were cancelled Monday amid the downpours, which in some regions followed months of drought.

"You've got accept what you're given, in this case by the heavens," joked Hollywood star Antonio Banderas after the processions were called off in his hometown of Málaga as well as in Cádiz, Granada, Huelva and Seville in the south, and Zaragoza in the north.

Across Spain, worshippers eyes were on the skies, in the vain hope it wouldn't rain on their parade, but the AEMET national weather agency offered little seasonal cheer: "A wet week across most of Spain," it predicted.

READ ALSO: Semana Santa: What will the weather be like in Spain this Easter?

As the rain showed little sign of easing, dozens of brotherhoods and voluntary associations -- who spend months preparing for Easter week -- said they were calling off their elaborate processions which draw huge crowds in the majority Catholic country.

"These young Nazarenes are learning that life sometimes gives you blessings and sometimes gives you tears," wrote Banderas on X, posting a photograph of him comforting two young women in tears, all three wearing the traditional cream robes of the Nazarenes, or "penitants".

The 63-year-old actor, who has portrayed Zorro and Pablo Picasso on the silver screen, is one of Malaga's most famous residents and takes part every year in the southern city's Easter processions.

The rain and sudden drop in temperatures is otherwise good news for Spain where several regions, notably Andalusia in the south and Catalonia in the northwest, have been suffering from a prolonged drought. 

This year, Spain registered its hottest January since current records began in 1961, with temperatures reaching nearly 30C (86 degrees Fahrenheit) in some regions.

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In Catalonia, the faithful have even held marches and masses to pray for rain after three years without significant rainfall which on February 1 prompted the region to declare a drought emergency, imposing restrictions in Barcelona and the surrounding area.

Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday when Christians remember Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem followed just days later by his trial, crucifixion and death at the hands of the Romans, and his resurrection on Easter Sunday.

In Spain, the week is characterised by dozens of parades featuring elaborate floats topped with life-sized statues of Jesus and the Virgin Mary accompanied by hundreds of penitents, who traditionally wear flowing robes and have their heads covered by distinctive pointy hoods.

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