Interested in Semana Santa in Spain and 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
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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 superb artistic expression.
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.
Holy Week 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 2023?
Holy Week in Spain 2023 is April 2-8, 2023. Easter in Spain in 2023 is on April 9, 2023.
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EASTER IN SPAIN – FACTS
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, 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.
I hiked a few Caminos in Spain. Here you can read my guides
Camino de Santiago Camino del Norte
Camino del Santiago a Finisterre
Camino de Santiago Via de la Plata
Camino de Santiago Sanabres
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.
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 Holy Week and Easter in Spain are in Andalucia in southern Spain.
The most famous Holy Week processions in Andalusia are held in 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.
Holy Week in Seville
Seville, the capital of Andalucia, arguably holds the most spectacular Holy Week celebration in Spain.
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.
Book your stay in Seville and witness the spectacular Semana Santa in Seville!
Holy Week in Malaga
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.
Book your stay in Malaga and witness the marvelous Semana Santa in Malaga!
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.
Holy Week in Salamanca
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 Good Friday to Easter Sunday. Stunning Salamanca is one of the most beautiful cities in Spain and a famous university city in Spain. 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.
Book your stay in Salamanca and see the incredible Semana Santa in Salamanca!
The most famous Holy Week processions in Murcia are in the towns of Cartagena and Lorca.
Holy Week in 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.
Book your stay in Lorca and witness 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
- 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.
- 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 as 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
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
Bueñuelos are balls-shaped small doughnuts traditionally eaten during Semana Santa in Spain
Pestiños are honey-glazed fritters fried in olive oil. Pestiños are traditional Spanish desserts prepared during Holy Week in Andalusia.
Rosquillas are the popular Spanish Easter donuts. They are prepared with fresh orange juice and lemon rid.
5. 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
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 – 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
Where is Semana Santa celebrated in Spain?
Semana Santa in Spain is celebrated throughout the country. But the most famous Semana Santa celebrations are in Andalucia and Castilla y Leon.
Holy Week celebrations in Andalucia tend to be more glamorous, and Holy Week celebrations in Castile and Leon are more solemn.
However, the most famous Spanish Semana Santa parades are probably in Seville and Malaga in Andalucia.