Holy Week in Spain is the annual tribute of the Passion of Jesus Christ celebrated by Catholic religious brotherhoods and fraternities that perform penance processions on the streets of almost every Spanish city and town during the last week of Lent, the week immediately before Easter.
Easter is celebrated for an entire week in Spain, and it’s filled with processions, ritual and meaning. Easter is celebrated for the entire week before Easter Sunday. It is called “Semana Santa,” or “Holy Week,” and it sees parades celebrating the country’s Roman Catholic heritage.
Easter time in Spain is definitely famous for its traditions and processions. Some places attract the national and international tourist interest during this time of the year.
This year is taking place from the 9th April to the 16th April.
I am from Murcia so I am going to tell you a bit of our Easter time here as it might be different to other places in Spain.
During Easter lots of processions take place. These processions are performed by brotherhoods which represent Jesus’ life according to the bible.
Everything starts on a Sunday called “Palm Day”, or “El Dia de la Palma”. This day commemorates Jesus Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem (according to Christian belief, it marks the beginning of Holy Week and always falls on the Sunday before Easter Sunday).
Easter time in Murcia is fantastic, drums and trumpets bands playing songs they’ve been rehearsing the whole year just to participate in those processions where brotherhoods carry magnificient images or sculptures representing Jesus Chris life.
Good Wednesday, Good Thursday and Good Friday are the main days.
On Good Wednesday or “Miercoles Santo” the “Silent Procession” or “Procesion del Silencio” takes place. Lots of penitents fall silent during this beautiful procession where people carry candles.
On Good Thursday or “Jueves Santo”, brotherhoods take their images to the church while playing drums and trumpets. Then, in the evening the first main procession takes place.
People carry these amazing thrones with God images on them and dance those thrones while drums and trumpets play in the processions.
Everybody wears a black robe during these days, it is part of the tradition. Brotherhoods differentiate themselves by wearing black robes with different sash colours.
Friday is the main day, there is a procession in the morning and another one in the evening. The evening one lasts until early hours of the morning of the following day and it ends with images of God being dance on the top of people’s shoulder. It is amazing. It is something you must see by yourself.
Some other important processions take place in places such as Lorca or Cartagena and they are very popular due to a high touristic interest.
There is no other Holy Week as the Holy Week in Lorca. Its originality lies in the spectacular nature of its great biblical and passionate processions; the chariot races and the outstanding embroideries made of gold and silk which decorate banners and capes.
In Lorca there are two main groups:
«Blancos» (whites) and «Azules» (blues), colours which identify the main brotherhoods of the city. Devotion is evidenced by «salves» (Marian hymns) and «serenatas» (serenades). Enthusiasm is shared in the city of Lorca those days.
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The Holy Week in Cartagena is one of the greatest treasures of the city. Its processions, at night or in the early hours of the morning, are lived with so much excitement that even the tourists will not be able to avoid feeling involved in the devotion and dedication.
What makes the processions of Cartagena different is their perfect order and absolute silence, which has been inherited from the military past of the city. You will be impressed by the simultaneous movements of the hoods in the narrow streets of the city; by the richness of polychromes in the stunning thrones, and by the illumination provided by some special lamps called «cartelas».
Finally just to say that in England it is tradition “Easter Eggs” and in Spain we have “Nazarenos” (or people wearing black robes) who give sweets away during the processions. Some other food such as boiled quail eggs or pasties are tradition too.
If you go to Spain and you need information during Easter, or the place you are visiting, please do not hesitate to contact me so I can happily help you.
Happy Easter every one.