Easter in Spain: Spectacular Celebration of Semana Santa in Spain

Celebrating Holy Week in Seville is one of the best things to do in Seville

Interested in celebrating Easter in Spain? Read where to go for Easter in Spain, how to celebrate Easter in Spain, what to see at Easter in Spain, and what traditional Spanish Easter food to try in Spain

EASTER IN SPAIN

Semana Santa in Spain
Semana Santa throne in Spain

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN COMPENSATED LINKS. PLEASE READ MY DISCLAIMER FOR MORE INFO. 

Easter in Spain is one of the most important historical, cultural, social, and religious events.

The celebration of Easter in Spain is matchless. And, observing Semana Santa and Easter in Spain are must-have experiences in Spain.

Easter processions in Spain commemorate the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus in an unparalleled way. The celebration of Holy Week and Easter in Spain represents a glorious demonstration of religiousness accompanied by a superb artistic expression.

Witnessing Semana Santa is one of the best things to do in Malaga
Street decoration during Semana Santa in Malaga, Spain © World Travel Connector

The remarkable tradition of celebrating Holy Week and Easter in Spain goes back to the Middle Ages. Semana Santa in Spain is one of the most spectacular fiestas in Spain. During Semana Santa, striking religious processions go through the main streets of Spanish cities, towns, and villages. 

The most dramatic Semana Santa processions in Spain happen on Maundy Thursday (Jueves Santo) and Good Friday (Viernes Santo). And the most dramatic Holy Week processions are in Seville and Malaga in southern Spain.

Seville is one of the best places to celebrate Easter in Spain
Semana Santa in Seville

Holy Week processions in Seville and Malaga are famous events worldwide. People from all over the world come to Seville and Malaga to witness spectacular celebrations of the Passion of Christ.

So, if you are thinking of spending a week in Spain, Holy Week in Spain grants bringing home lifelong memorable moments from Spain. 

When is Easter celebrated in Spain in 2022?

Holy Week in Spain 2022 is April 10-17, 2022. Easter in Spain in 2022 is on April 17, 2022.

RELATED READ: 

EASTER IN SPAIN – FACTS

Celebration of Palm Sunday in Spain
Palm Sunday in Spain

Easter in Spain facts

Spain has been predominately a Catholic country for centuries.

It is a country with a 2.000 year-long tradition of Christianity. Saint James the Greater, one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ, has spread Christianity on the Iberian peninsula in the first years of the new era.

St James the Apostle (or Santiago in Spanish) is the saint patron of Spain. His remains are held in a tomb in the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in Spain.

Santiago de Compostela in Spain is one of the most famous Christian pilgrimage sites, along with Jerusalem and Rome. Also, Camino de Santiago in Spain is one of the most famous pilgrimage routes.

Malaga should be on any southern Spain itinerary
Wall decoration for Semana Santa in Malaga © World Travel Connector

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Guide to Camino de Norte, Camino de Santiago

Packing list for Camino de Santiago in Spain

Easter is the most significant event in Christianity. And Holy Week is the most sacred week for Christians. Easter in Spain is one of the most important holidays, in line with its Christian tradition.

Easter in Spain is called Pascua.  

The celebration of Easter in Spain starts with Holy Week. Holy Week in Spain is called Semana Santa. Holy Week is the week that precedes Easter and the last week of Lent.

Semana Santa starts with Palm Sunday, called Domingo de Ramos in Spain. Palm Sunday commemorates the day when Jesus arrived in Jerusalem. Semana Santa ends with Easter Sunday or Lunes de Pascua in Spanish.

Malaga is one of the best places to celebrate Easter in Spain
Palm Sunday procession in Malaga, Andalusia

Easter Sunday is the day of the resurrection of Jesus. 

WHERE TO CELEBRATE EASTER IN SPAIN

Easter in Spain traditions

Holy Week and Easter in Spain are celebrated throughout the country: from Andalusia and Murcia in the south of Spain across Castile and Leon to Galicia, Asturias, and the Basque Country in the north of Spain. 

Holy Week celebrations in Spain are the uppermost graceful and dignified events full of majesty. But while the celebrations in Andalucia tend to be more glamorous, the celebrations in Castile and Leon are more solemn. 

The most glamorous celebrations of the Holy Week and Easter in Spain are in Andalucia in southern Spain. 

The most famous Holy Week processions in Andalusia are held in the towns of Seville, Malaga, Granada, Cordoba, Jerez de la Frontera, Cadiz and Almeria. 

But, Seville, Malaga, and Granada are known for the most elaborate and extravagant Holy Week celebrations in Andalucia.

Seville, the capital of Andalucia, arguably holds the most spectacular Holy Week celebration in Spain.

Celebrating Holy Week in Seville is one of the best things to do in Seville
Semana Santa in Seville

About 70 brotherhoods make religious processions in the streets of Seville from their churches and chapels to the Cathedral. The hoodied penitents carry large floats with statues of Jesus and the Virgin Mary to commemorate the Passion and Death of Jesus Christ. The procession statues are considered artistic masterpieces. The processions go from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, but the most remarkable parade goes on the night of Maundy Thursday to Good Friday, and it is popularly called La Madrugá.

Witnessing La Madrugá in Seville is of the most memorable experiences. 

Witnessing spectacular Semana Santa is one of the best things to do in Malaga Spain
Semana Santa in Malaga, Spain

The Holy Week in Malaga is a joyful event.

More than 250 members of the Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza brotherhood carry enormous floats during the Passion Week processions in Malaga. On Maundy Thursday, the military Spanish Legion follows the parade.

Spanish Legionarios during Semana Santa in Malaga, Spain
Spanish Legionarios during Semana Santa in Malaga, Spain

Some of the most solemn celebrations of Holy Week in Spain are in the Castile and León region. The most notable Holy Week processions happen in Segovia, Avila, Salamanca, Valladolid, León, and Zamora.

Salamanca holds one of the oldest Holy Week processions in Spain. It dates back to the 13th century. 10.000 penitents from the 18 brotherhoods make 24 processions from Friday to Easter Sunday. Salamanca University is the second oldest university in Europe (after Bologna in Italy) and the oldest university in Spain. One of the most notable Holy Week processions in Salamanca is the procession of students of Salamanca university. 

The most famous Holy Week processions in Murcia are in the towns of Cartagena and Lorca. 

Holy Week processions in Lorca feature horses, chariots, penitents dressed in white-blue robes, and floats with Baroque statues portraying the scenes of the Old Testament. 

One of the best places to celebrate Easter in Spain is Spain in Murcia
Semana Santa in Lorca

BEST PLACES TO CELEBRATE EASTER IN SPAIN

Places in Spain with the most magnificent Semana Santa processions and parades:

  • Andalucia: Seville, Malaga, Granada, Cordoba, Jerez de la Frontera, Cadiz, Almeria
  • Aragon: Zaragoza
  • Castile and Leon: Avila, Salamanca,  Segovia, Leon, Valladolid and Zamora 
  • Castile-La Mancha: Toledo 
  • Galicia: Viveiro, Ferrol 
  • Murcia: Cartagena, Lorca 

WHAT TO SEE FOR HOLY WEEK AND EASTER IN SPAIN 

Lorca in Murcia is one of the best places to celebrate Easter in Spain
Nazarenos of Semana Santa in Lorca
  • tronos also called pasos – the large ornate floats (thrones) with the scene of Jesus Passion and statues of Jesus, sorrowful Virgin Mary, and saints carried by various church members organized in brotherhoods, called cofradías or fraternities, called hermanos. Members of different brotherhoods wear different silk robes. 
  • costaleros – men under the floats who carry them on their shoulders and necks. There are between 24 and 54 costaleros under each float, depending on the size of the float. They are under floats, so floats seem to move by themselves in a unique ‘floating’ way. 
  • Nazarenos – are penitential participants who wear distinctive robes. The robes include a tunic, a hood covering the face, and a cloak. Nazarenos usually go barefoot and carry candles and wooden crosses in processions. 
  • capirotes – the pointed hoods of Nazarenos with eye-holes. Only members of Catholic brotherhoods wear them during the processions.
Semana Santa in Malaga is one of the top experinces of Easter in Spain
Nazarenos with capirotes in Malaga
  • saetas – typical mournful Andalusian flamenco-style religious music that follows the Holy Week processions in Andalusia
  • mantillas – mourning women dressed in black with mantillas (lace veils) who usually carry candles and rosaries in the processions 
  • La Madrugá in Seville – is the most intense night of the Holy Week. It is the night of Maundy Thursday to Good Friday. Madrugá means dawn as the procession lasts until sunrise of Good Friday. La Madrugá in Seville is famous for the most spectacular Holy Week procession in Spain. 

WHAT TO EAT FOR EASTER IN SPAIN

Easter in Spain food

Easter is the day of the commemoration of the resurrection of Jesus, the Son of God.

Easter is the most important Christian holiday. The resurrection of Jesus means the victory of life over death for Christians. Easter is the celebration of hope in eternal life for believers. 

Therefore, Easter is a holiday of joy and happiness shared among families and friends, in private circles, and in public. 

Spaniards celebrate Easter (Domingo de Resurrección) with great food, especially delicious cakes, and sweets.

TRADITIONAL EASTER FOOD IN SPAIN

Some of the traditional Spanish food eaten during Holy Week and Easter in Spain are:

1. Torrijas al vino

Spanish torrijas are some of the most traditional Spanish desserts in Spain
Spanish torrijas

Torrijas are traditional Spanish-style French toast. Torrijas are slices of bread traditionally soaked in wine (not milk) and eggs and fried in olive oil. Torrijas dipped in wine are called torrijas al vino

2. Bueñuelos 

Buñuelos de viento are some of the most popular traditional Spanish desserts in Spain
Buñuelos de viento

Bueñuelos are balls-shaped small doughnuts traditionally eaten during Semana Santa in Spain

3. Pestiños 

Pestinos are some of the most traditional Spanish desserts in Spain
Pestinos

Pestiños are honey-glazed fritters fried in olive oil. Pestiños are traditional Spanish desserts prepared during Holy Week in Andalusia.

4. Rosquillas 

Rosquillas are some of the top traditional Spanish desserts in Spain
Rosquillas

Rosquillas are the popular Spanish Easter donuts. They are prepared with fresh orange juice and lemon rid.

5. Sopa de Ajo

sopa de ajo is one of the traditional dishes eaten at Easter in Spain
Sopa de Ajo

Sopa de Ajo (Spanish garlic soup) is eaten traditionally in Spanish homes on Easter Sunday. Spanish garlic soup is made with garlic, chicken broth, pepper, and a hard-boiled egg in the center of the soup. 

6. Mona de Pascua

Mona de Pascua is a traditional ring-shaped Easter cake, prepared typically in Valencia and Catalonia. It is a colorful cake made of marzipan with boiled eggs or chocolate eggs on the top.

7. Flores de Semana Santa

Flores de Semana Santa – The ‘Holy Week fried flowers’ are sweet and crunchy cookies found in Spanish homes and bakeries across Spain.

8. Espinacas con garbanzos

Garbanzos con espinacas is a popular food in Spain
Garbanzos con espinacas © World Travel Connector

Espinacas con garbanzos – Spanish-style chickpea and spinach stew from Seville traditionally eaten at Easter time 

9. Potaje de Vigilia

Potaje de Vigilia – is a traditional Spanish stew of chickpeas, spinach, garlic, and cod eaten on ‘Viernes Santo’ (Good Friday).

10. Bacalao al pil-pil

Bacalao Al Pil Pil is one of the most famous Spanish seafood dishes
Bacalao Al Pil Pil © World Travel Connector

Bacalao al pil-pil – Cod in Pil-Pil Sauce is a traditional Basque dish eaten during Lent

11. Huevos de Pascua

Huevos de Pascua or huevos de chocolate – colorfully decorated boiled eggs or chocolate eggs given as gifts to children on Easter 

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