Semana Santa: Spanish Holy Week
Holy Week is already here and Easter holidays are right around the corner! Although Easter is celebrated around the same time, the way it is celebrated can be very different between countries. We hope you can learn some differences between English and Spanish Easter here and find out more about Spanish Holy Week.
Spanish Holy Week stands out because of its magnificent brotherhood processions. While British citizens usually go to church and light Easter candles, Spanish people gather to watch religious processions in the city. They walk through the streets carrying religious symbols and figures related to the Passion of the Christ.
The most surprising figures are the “penitents” who wear pointed hats called “capirotes”. For Americans these costumes strongly resemble those of the KKK but of course they have nothing to do with them!
This spectacular tradition is carried out in different ways depending on the region. For example, some of the most famous processions can be found in Andalusia (Southern Spain). They begin on Palm Sunday (Domingo de Ramos) and last until Easter Monday (Lunes de Pascua), with the most dramatic displays held on Maundy Thursday (Jueves Santo) and Good Friday (Viernes Santo).
Another big tradition, especially for Brits and Americans, are chocolate eggs and especially, easter egg hunts! In Spain they have easter eggs but their tradition is to eat chocolate eggs in sweet buns. They call these “La mona de Pascua” and during this time you can find them in the supermarkets, cafes and restaurants all over Spain.
Another peculiarity of the Spanish Holy Week is that no faithful should eat meat on Ash Wednesday, nor on any Friday of the Lent period. So that’s 40 days from Ash Wednesday until Easter. The period of Lent in Spain is called “Cuaresma” and lasts until Easter Sunday (yes, we know there are actually 46 days, but Sundays don’t count according to the church’s calendar!)
So there are a few diferences for you when it comes to celebrating Easter. Whilst there are some differences, the underlying message is the same and the celebration of Christ’s resurrection still makes Easter a leading festivity in the Western world.