The week leading up to Easter is celebrated by Christians around the world to commemorate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Holy Week marks the last week of Lent, during which Christians are called on to fast, pray and give alms to the needy. In Spain, Holy Week, or Semana Santa, is the most important religious period of the year. Processions featuring hooded figures are held on the streets of almost every city. Each city has several religious brotherhoods, often dating back to the Middle Ages. The colours of the robes and hoods signify membership of the different brotherhoods.

Holy Week processions vary from region to region; those in the south are lively affairs accompanied by marching bands, while northern cities see more sombre parades. Processions start on Palm Sunday and continue until Easter Sunday, with the most solemn on Maundy Thursday.

In this gallery, IBTimesUK looks processions in several cities around Spain at the start of Holy Week.