The International Tourist Interest of Cartagena's Holy Week defines what is going to be experienced by the visitor these days. A quick look at the routes and timetables programs will give you a clue.
The processions in Cartagena have an early morning attitude: this means a character of their own and a communion with the pain and woe that are so well represented here. A procession that goes through the streets in broad daylight can never be experienced in the same way as a procession meant to go out of the temple when the night is so deep as a wound. If we could be in several places at the same time, in order not to miss anything, one of the places to be would be the street: to witness everything that constantly happens, watch this millennial city's wonderful sense of the show, smell of burnt wax, notice the expressive music's bang in the stomach, and be dazzled by the perfect synchrony of entourages, the lit up thrones of which, over the crowd, exhibit smooth hills of flowers seeming to daintily hold the images that are swayed under the dark vault of heaven. Another place would be the firmament: somewhere high to realize the true magnitude of what happens down there, listen to the roar that is muffled by the distance, to sudden applauses, and check the images' winding route through the city.
Cartagena lives these days with a great devotion, passed on to inhabitants and strangers, and is united in an only objective even if it is divided into two expressions of the same thing. The diatribes between marrajos and californios are due to a spirit that goes beyond the mere spirit of competition. Both Brotherhoods are proud of their age-old past; there is no contradiction in saying they unite the city by dividing it. And this is not all: in fact, here is where everything starts. Cartagena and its Holy Week have other reasons to be proud. This festivity is experienced with intensity, as we said before. And the visitor will be astonished sometimes, surprised some other times, and almost always excited. He or she will be able to verify that the images in the processions have the quality and signature of the best carving workshops, that have gained through the years a good reputation, confirmed by Art History. These are images rescued from wood by the expert hands of master sculptors such as Benlliure, Sánchez Lozano, Salzillo, González Moreno, Abascal, Ardil, García Mengual or Capuz. Everyone is in the street on the first big day, Viernes de Dolores -Dolores Friday-, dedicated to their Patron Virgin: an image of the Virgen de la Caridad -Caridad Virgin- at the base of the Cross, which is a prelude to the following ten days. Intense. Without any concessions to simplicity. Elaborate. Days of bright nights.