Spain is getting ready for one of its most revered holiday periods of the year – Easter.
The holy week means thousands of colourful and noisy religious street processions, which draw multitudes on to the streets to watch.
The central pieces of the processions are the richly decorated gigantic floats bearing sculptures of Jesus or the Virgin Mary and often weighing up to a tonne or more.
The ceremonies see brotherhoods of “nazarenos” with tall conical hats, monkish robes and hoods carrying or escorting the magnificent carriages through ancient streets of cities and towns nationwide.
While the processions take place over just a handful of days, preparations are a year-round affair and involve a wide range of small, sometimes family-run businesses.
The artisans are responsible for producing all the regalia, from conical hats and huge candles to palm leaf bouquets.
There are also workshops in charge of the conservation of religious sculptures, their dresses and adorning cloths.
“It’s year-long preparation,” says Paqui Serrano, an artisan palm leaf bouquet-maker in Elche, south-east Spain, the heart of Spain’s palm tree agriculture.
Fernando Chicharro Mendez, head of the team float bearers in Madrid’s Jesus of the Great Power and Macarena Brotherhood, has carried floats for 25 years.
He says the task of carrying the floats has varied little in the brotherhood’s 83 years of existence.
Mr Chicharro says he and his son, another float bearer, and family are constantly occupied with the processions and their preparations.
“We live it daily,” he said. “In my family, all are brotherhood members and experience it with great faith.”
Mr Chicharro’s float is carried by 35 bearers, with brothers on standby to relieve them along the procession route.
Their practice sessions frequently pique the interest of tourists and Spaniards alike as they wind their way through the streets in the weeks before Easter.
Easter this year begins with Palm Sunday on April 2.
A sacred holiday for Spaniards, it generally sees millions taking trips out of town, often just to witness the processions.