El Paso de Istán is one of the most popular traditions of Holy Week in Málaga. The whole village joins in with this tradition.
The difference between El Paso de Istán and similar portrayals can be found in the wealth of the texts in verse that date back to 1896 and 1924. Performances are brief but very intense.
A re-enactment led by the locals
Those portraying the life of Jesus Christ are not professional actors, but rather the inhabitants of Istán who dedicate part of their free time to rehearsing for the re-enactment. In the case of the main roles, such as Jesus and Mary Magdalene, rehearsals last for around two months, and around one month for the other roles.
Of Istán's 1,500 inhabitants, 100 participate directly in the actual re-enactment, but more than 300 are involved in one way or another, so this tradition is met by great fervour by practically the whole village.
Origins of El Paso de Istán
The origin of El Paso de Istán dates back to the 17th Century, specifically the year 1666 when this religious re-enactment first took place on the village square. It was suspended in the years prior to the Civil War, although it never fully disappeared in the memory of its inhabitants, known as "los panochos", who recovered the tradition in 1980.
In the past, the characters taking part in the re-enactment wore masks and moved to the rhythm of a choir, to the backdrop of the square. At present, there are live re-enactments of passages from the Old and New Testaments that culminate in the Crucifixion of Jesus.