The Easter celebrations in Spain are quite different to what you might be used to if you are not Spanish. These 5 interesting facts about Easter in Spain should tell you all you need to know if you happen to find yourself in Spain during Easter.
5 interesting facts about Easter in Spain that might surprise you:
1. There is no Easter bunny in Spain
It was in the north of Europe where people started seeing the rabbit as a symbol of fertility due to its procreating potential. And it is not without reason as a female rabbit can deliver up to around a hundred bunnies per year!
Consequently, the rabbit was the perfect choice to celebrate arrival of Spring when the plants blossom and the soil becomes fertile.
From the XIX century, people in Germany started making them out of chocolate and sugar to celebrate the end of Winter.
2. You will, however, find Easter eggs.
Whilst there is no sign of the Easter bunny in Spain an interesting fact about Easter in Spain is the presence of eggs in unexpected places.
Eggs hunts are not a thing in Spain but eggs are part of the pastries that you will only find during Easter.
In the same way as the rabbit, the eggs are a symbol of fertility and life. The “Mona de Pascua”, the most famous of all Easter pastries in Spain, includes an egg.
3. In Spain, some people will fast for 40 days before Easter
Lent, called Cuaresma in Spanish, represents the 40 day period that precedes Easter. It is a period of meditation and repentance.
It has its origin in the 40 days Jesus Christ spent meditating in the desert before his death on the cross.
Interestingly enough the Universal Deluge also lasted 40 days and the Jews wandered for 40 years before finding Israel.
During Lent, people in Spain will practice abstinence from eating meat and meat products on Fridays.
This cultural tradition is however slowly disappearing and many people do not vary their diet during Lent.
4. There is a parade to mark the start of Holy Week
Lent ends with Palm Sunday (Domingo de Ramos), the day people celebrate Jesus’s entrance into Jerusalem.
It marks the beginning of the Holy Week. Most churches in Spain will hold a parade where people will carry woven palm leaves.
5. The Nazarenes and their peculiar outfits
The days that come just before Easter Monday – Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Glory Saturday and Easter Sunday – are intense religious days in Spain. You will find parades that symbolise the main events surrounding the death and resurrection of Jesus.
The last of the interesting facts about Easter in Spain is probably the most disturbing one for foreign visitors.
You will find no cute Easter bunnies around but you might encounter Nazarenes (Nazarenos) with their peculiar outfits – a habit, a cape and sometimes a hat.
These peculiar hats are called Capirotes and are worn by Nazarenes in penance repenting their sins.
Capirotes are cone shaped hats with a veil that covers the face of the Nazarene. They were originally worn during the executions in the times of the Spanish Inquisition. The sinner about to be executed will be force to wear one. In the veil you will find a list of the sins committed that resulted on the persons execution.
Please be warned, Spain is, at its best, quite a peculiar place, but we hope your mind will be at ease knowing that it is not a KKK parade that you are witnessing!
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