A unique display of tradition, music, culture, theatre and religion, Easter is one of Spain’s most breathtaking celebrations.
Semana Santa takes place the week leading up to Easter and it’s celebrated all over Spain. Locals spend the entire year preparing for it. From Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, processions take over the streets of Spain as a tribute to the Passion of Jesus Christ.
4 Unique Holy Week Traditions in Andalusia, Spain
The main attraction of Holy Week in Spain is the processions. The sculptures that are depictions of Virgins, Christ, and the crucifixion, kept by the churches during the year are taken out on a tour, mounted on magnificent floats and accompanied by exquisite floral decorations. The processions are accompanied by a parade and bands. All the people come together to watch it and pray.
The unique dress of the Nazarenos was born from the desire to repent sins without needing to reveal the identity of the wearer. While the robe worn by these penitents does not draw attention, that cannot be said for the conical hood (capirote) which bears striking resemblance to the dress of the K.K.K. It is important to note that there is absolutely no connection between the two traditions. The distinctive pointed hood worn during Holy Week dates from the Spanish Inquisition since condemned prisoners had to wear this hood as a sign of public shame. The number of Nazarenos participating in big processions can reach as many as 3,000. Due to their mysterious look, many Nazarenos will carry bags of sweets and hand them to nearby kids so they know they’re friendly!
During Holy Week, one of the most widely-recognized figures is that of women who wear mantillas, a traditional Spanish veil that is most commonly used during the days of the Passion of Christ to show mourning and pain. A black dress, a mark of respect, is worn with a mantilla of the same colour. The mantilla consists of a high comb called a peineta which is covered with a lace veil.
Undoubtedly one of the most important cultural events of Holy Week is the singing of saetas. It is a type of traditional religious singing during the days of the Passion of Christ and is similar to Flamenco. A saetero has a powerful voice that carries strong emotion since they sing without musical accompaniment. They deliver their songs to the images depicted in the processions. If you visit Andalucia for Holy Week, you cannot miss this cultural event, which is among the most exciting moments of the processions.
During Holy Week, processions aren’t the only cultural and religious event that takes place. People take to the streets to perform the Passion and Death of Christ. On the street, some are dressed as Romans and others as Jews, and they act out different episodes of this religious history. Biblical episodes like the arrest, trial, scourging, bearing of the cross, and the crucifixion depicted.
Spain is a passionate country with many stunning traditions to explore. When you are ready to start planning your adventure to Spain, I’ll be here ready to help you make your travel dreams come true. Just click on the yellow button below to get started.