The second forum was held on 18 March at Raio Palace in Portugal, bringing together a group of European entities. The forum served to consolidate the network after the first meeting took place in Lucena (Spain) last September and establish the new association, which has been created to enhance Holy Week and Easter-related traditions in Europe. The association intends to apply to become a European Cultural Route of the Council of Europe.

Led by the Andalusian route “Caminos de Pasión”, the new network starts its journey with founding members from Italy, Malta, Slovenia, Spain and Portugal, with a total of nine entities, which organize Holy Week and Easter celebrations in their respective regions.

During the work session, very important points were discussed and adopted, which will guide the new association’s operations and actions, including the signing the network’s founding act, selecting the Managing Committee, creating the Scientific Committee, adopting the action plan and budget, as well as organizing activities to prepare the European Cultural Route application.

About the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe

Launched by the Council of Europe in 1987, Cultural Routes demonstrate, by means of a journey through space and time, how the heritage of different European countries and cultures contributes to a shared and living cultural heritage.

A European Cultural Route covers several countries or regions and is organized around a common theme, whose history, artistic or cultural interest is distinctly European, either due to its geographical location or owing to its content or meaning.

About the European Network of Holy Week Celebrations

The European Network of Holy Week and Easter Celebrations will be a non-profit cultural association, open to all religions and beliefs that celebrate the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and whose cultural heritage is a reference point in their respective regions and/or countries.

The Association intends to combine efforts and make use of synergies by consolidating a model to preserve and promote the material and intangible heritage related to Holy Week and Easter, while showcasing the expressions belonging to the different members and geographical locations as quality tourist destinations.

At the time of foundation, the association’s founding members include different entities that promote and enhance important Holy Week and Easter traditions and festivities in Europe, which are the following:

– The Italian Frederick II Foundation from Sicily, which represents Palermo, Caltanissetta and Trapani.

– Birgu and Qormi from Malta.

Braga’s Holy Week and Lent Commission, Portugal.

– Škofja Loka Passion Plays, Slovenia.

– The Andalusian route “Caminos de Pasión”, which represents the Holy Week celebrations from Alcalá la Real in Jaén; Baena, Cabra, Lucena, Priego de Córdoba and Puente Genil in Córdoba province; and Carmona, Écija, Osuna and Utrera in Seville province.

– The Holy Week celebrations in Orihuela (Alicante), Lorca (Murcia) and Viveiro (Lugo) represent other Spanish cities.

Reasons for the application

This Cultural Route project is a fantastic opportunity and platform for promoting the heritage related to Holy Week and Easter, giving it visibility in Europe and worldwide.