The week before Easter is known as Holy Week, and 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. Hundreds of processions featuring hooded figures are held around the clock during Holy Week in cities and towns all over Spain, drawing thousands of visitors. Each city has several religious brotherhoods, often dating back to the Middle Ages. The colours of the hooded robes, known as capirotes, signify membership of different brotherhoods.

Semana Santa Holy Week hooded penitents
Penitents of La Paz brotherhood take part in a Holy Week procession in Seville Jesus Moron/Reuters

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 at Holy Week processions in several cities around Spain.