LA SEMANA SANTA – THE HOLY WEEK

The holy week, 6 days just before Easter Sunday, is one of the most important weeks in the Christian culture. This year, it will be celebrated from the 25th to the 31th of March, starting on Palm Sunday and ending on Easter Saturday. Many cities in Spain have their own traditions and ways of preparing and embracing the resurrection of Christ and hold processions, church services and events the entire week. 

Historical Background 

As more than half of Spain’s inhabitants are considered Roman Catholic, Semana Santa is one of the most significant religious celebrations in the country and the rituals and ceremonies have become immense over the centuries.
During holy week, Christians remember the passion of Christ and how he died on Good Friday in order to rise on Easter Sunday to give new life to all who believe. This time is both, a very tragic but also joyful period in the Christian culture and therefore, celebrations can be intense, all week long. The resurrection of Jesus is seen as a victory over sin and death.

 
Holy week in Andalusia
 
In the south of Spain, Andalusian cities like Sevilla and Malaga are known for their great celebrations and traditions during that time of the year.
Wooden lifelike sculptures are carried through the streets of Malaga to explain the Passion of Christ, while in Sevilla there are several processions from churches and chapels to the cathedral of the city. People are also carrying wooden or wax figures to demonstrate scenes of this important time.
Usually, these processions are accompanied by drums, trumpets, brass bands or a cappella choirs that sing and play hymns and marches in honour of Jesus and the Holy Virgin.


 
       
source: el jueves
 
Silent Procession in Zamora
 
Zamora has a very unique way of commemorating the suffering of Jesus Christ. The bells of the viaticum and the beating of the candles on the ground are the only sounds that break the silence in the impressive procession of the Yacente de Zamora, every Holy Thursday at night.
In addition, Zamora has special gastronomic traditions of Holy Week, such as garlic soup in the early morning of Good Friday, or the 'Dos y pingada' on Easter Sunday that is usually taken after the procession of resurrection. It consists of two fried eggs, two or three pieces of pig ham (or serrano ham) and bread.

Other cities and their celebration
 
In Castro Urdiales, Cantabria, there is no procession but all residents participate in a representation of the Passion of Christ, from the Last Supper to the Resurrection.
Another way of honouring God is demonstrated by the inhabitants of Calanda, Teruel, Aragón. In the morning of Good Friday, the crowd gathers in a square, silently waiting until noon, with their drum ready to rumble. When the clock strikes 12, a huge rumble floats throughout the town with an overwhelming source.
Each Holy Wednesday, the procession of Christ the Redeemer takes place in the narrow streets of the Jewish quarter of Toledo.
In Las Palmas de Elche, Alicante, they have special ceremonies as well. Thousands of white palms accompany the Borriquita procession every Palm Sunday. These white palms have been Elche’s hallmark since the fifteenth century and they have been used during the Holy Week for many years now, even in other places in Spain.
On Good Friday, Valladolid becomes a magnificent open-air museum. Every year, there is a parade going on through the streets of the city to display the best Castilian imagery of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In addition to a program full of splendid processions, these days the churches throughout Valladolid remain open so everybody can admire the incredible artistic quality of their carvings.


 
source: el titular
 
 
You don’t need to be religious to be part of these great ceremonies. People from many different countries come to Spain to enjoy these incredible events, so if you are interested, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us to learn more about our religious packages.