Popular Spanish Easter Traditions

Easter Eggs©mollystevens/Flickr

As I think we have tried to point out in several occasions on this blog, religion and especially Easter plays a very important part in Spanish culture. The Carnival Santa Cruz de Tenerife preceding the Easter Lent and the Holly Week (Semana Santa) are two of the biggest public manifestations (if not the very biggest) in Spain. But as not all tourists will have a chance to attend any of these popular celebrations  – you might be visiting a friend in another part of Spain, for example, or just decide to celebrate Easter with a short beach vacation somewhere in the South – it might be useful to know some popular Spanish Easter traditions:

Holly Week parades and processions


Parades and processions are probably the most spectacular part of Easter celebrations. The Holly Week – the week preceding Easter – is one very eventful week in many parts of Spain. Seville becomes a place of pilgrimage during Semana Santa, as the Spaniards call it, as its historic brotherhood take out the pasos (wooden sculpture representing biblical characers) and embark in a silent procession through Seville’s cobbled streets. Nevertheless, similar processions takes place in other parts of Spain, like Zaragoza, Valancia, Cuenca or Toledo. In Cordoba, people commemorate the death of Jesus with a long procession, accompanied only by religious music and the small of incense. A relatively small but unique manifestation takes place in Gerona, in the Thrusday before Easter, when men dressed like skeletons dance the Dance of Death in the light of torches.

Easter day traditions

La Mona©_nur/Flickr

Unlike Christmas which is such a merry celebration, Easter in Spain is meant to be more sober and spiritual. However, the family and family reunions are still the heart and soul of every Easter day. It is customary for Christians in Spain to gather around a rich Easter dinner. The usual guest at this dinner is ‘La Mona de Pascua’  (especially in Catalonia), a round or ring shapes cake decorated with candied fruits, sprinkles or chocolate. Easter Eggs are also present in Spain, and so are the tasty sausages or the Easter bread. Torrijas is another popular Easter dish – it is quite similar to what Americans known as French Toast – slices of bread soaked in egg and milk and fried in oil or butter. It is also not unusual for Spaniards to go out and visit some of the places with a special religious signification, as Seville or Cordoba at this time of the year.



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