22 mar 2013

Semana Santa in Spain - Tips and Trips

A "Paso" showing
the crucifixion of Jesus
After Halloween, winter holidays and San Valentín, there is one of the world’s best eastern festivals coming. It attracts thousands of tourists every year and is celebrated euphorically over Easter by most of the Spaniards – the Semana Santa in Spain.
With today’s entry we want to give you a little overview what the Semana Santa in Spain is about, what it means to the Spaniards and – the far most important fact – in which places you can enjoy Easter the best, once you are in Spain.

What is the Semana Santa in Spain?

The most fascinating Easter festival of Spain is celebrated between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday. Various brotherhoods and their communities get the statues of Mary and Jesus out of the churches and carry them in hour-long processions through the streets of the cities of Spain. The penitential garment, ancient hoods and the rhythmic drumming by torchlight you can experience over Easter in Spain awaken religious feelings and have something quite fascinating. Almost like being transported back to the Middle Ages. Especially in the Andalusian cities of Seville, Malaga and Cordoba, the Semana Santa Easter processions attract hundreds of thousands of people.

Nazarenos carrying crosses
in the Semana Santa Easter Procession
There are Semana Santa Easter processions during the whole Easter week whereas the main procession takes place in the night from Holy Thursday to Good Friday. A Semana Santa Easter procession consists of the so called “pasos”, “Nazarenos” and “Penitentes”. The Penitentes are the ones who are carrying wooden crosses or processional candles as well as the tapered hoods with penitential garments which remind most of the people of the infamous Ku Klux Klan. However, in Spain you don’t need to be afraid- they just wear these ancient hoods to symbolize their anonymity. In some southern cities of Spain they even may carry shackles and chains on their bare feet as a sign of penance. The most important elements of the Semana Santa Easter procession are the so called “pasos”. Those are huge constructions of the statue of Mary or a scene of the way of the cross, carried by members of the brotherhood, the so called “costaleros”. The main element of every Semana Santa Easter procession in Spain is the Virgin Mary which is always decorated with valuable garments, candles and a typical Baldachin.

Which cities are popular during the Easter Semana Santa in Spain?

Semana Santa Easter Procession in Granada
The Semana Santa Easter processions in Spain vary from town to town. So you can have a silent one in the light of candles in Granada or you go to a more exciting one in Seville and enjoy the best known Semana Santa Easter procession of Spain where the people are divided in two fan bases. You even can take your time and pick one of more than 60 Semana Santa Easter processions to visit during the whole Semana Santa in Seville. Furthermore, the Semana Santa Easter processions of Málaga, Cuenca, Cartagena, Salamanca, León, Zamora, Valladolid, Lorca y Hellín are considered of “international touristic interest”. However, actually you can go to any city in Andalusia, Spain as they celebrate it even in the smallest towns. Apart from that, there are also a few Semana Santa Easter processions in Catalonia, Galicia or Valencia, but by far not that exceptional as in southern Spain.

Semana Santa Easter processions in Madrid

Semana Santa Procession in Madrid
As you already might have noticed, we didn’t say a word about Madrid. But Madrid wouldn’t be the city that never sleeps if we wouldn’t be able to enjoy Semana Santa here as well, right? The Easter Semana Santa in Madrid has actually already started the day 14th March. But don’t worry, you didn’t miss the best yet! Even if Madrid cannot keep up with Seville, there are still over 20 of these catholic Semana Santa Easter processions over the days before Easter Sunday. One of the most spectacular moments of the Easter weeks occur on Holy Thursday at Calle Toledo at the Colegiata de San Isidro. On Good Friday you can visit the perhaps most emblematic religious Semana Santa Easter procession of Madrid, the one of Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno which also includes a procession crossing Puerta de Sol and Plaza Cibeles. The main event on Easter Sunday takes place at mid-day in the Plaza Mayor which will be the Semana Santa Easter procession of “Tamborada del Domingo de Resurección”. Every year there is a brotherhood chosen to assemble at the Plaza Mayor with dozens of drums of all shapes and sizes to beat a constant rhythm which symbolizes the earth tremors while Christ died on the cross at Easter.
So, no worries, you don’t need to leave our wonderful Madrid as you can also enjoy the full amount of the Spanish culture in the Spanish capital. We hope with our tips we got you to think about your Semana Santa- plans so that you will enjoy your holidays the best you can! Stay connected with us and we will keep you updated when there’s something going on in Madrid! 

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