The most peculiar time of the year in Spain. If you are curious about what happens in Semana Santa in Spain we bring you the main events and characters you need to be aware of during Holy Week.
What happens in Semana Santa in Spain? The main events and characters you need to know during Holy Week
Palm Sunday or Domingo de Ramos
Holy week in Spain begins on Palm Sunday, the Sunday just before Easter. This day people celebrate the Jesus’s entrance in Jerusalem, where he was gifted palm leaves.
If you are in Spain around that time you will see palm leaves, sometimes crafted into crosses, decorating balconies.
On the day, churches will hold a special mass and you might encounter parades with people carry woven palm leaves.
What happens in Semana Santa in Spain? Religious Processions
Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Glory Saturday and Easter Sunday are very religious days in Spain. You will find parades all over the Spanish territory that symbolise the main events surrounding the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Some of them recreate scenes from the bible and you will see parades with Romans, soldiers and religious characters. In most parades the main event are the floats, huge Saints or religious scenes carry by men and women quite literally over their shoulders.
Penitents or Nazarenes
Probably one of the most shocking traditions from foreign visitors. Nazarenes are penitents that pop up in Spain during the Holy Week celebrations. Their peculiar outfits consists in a habit, a cape a big hat called capirote.
Nazarenes wear this outfit in penance, as they are repenting from their sins. The hat normally covers the face and its origin in the hats worn for executions during the Spanish Inquisition.
You will see Nazarenes -with or without hats- sometimes carrying crossed (emulating Jesus), barefoot (As a way of suffering like Jesus did during the Passion), and, depending on the region, even handing out candy to kids.
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What happens in Semana Santa in Spain? Women impeccably dressed in mourning clothes
You will not find them everywhere in Spain, but you are very likely to see them in Seville, Murcia, Granada, Salamanca and Valladolid.
They are called “Manolas” and, as few years ago women were not allow to participate in the parades as Nazarenes they had to settle with this role.
Manolas are women dressed in a black dress, with the vey Spanish hair peineta and a veil type of thing called mantilla.
In the parades they tend to be where the float of Mary is, as they accompany her in her mourn.
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