This past week was Semana Santa, or Holy Week. I have never experienced Easter like I did this year. Usually an American Easter holiday, in my experience anyway, consists of dying brightly colored eggs with a PAAS Easter Egg Kit, hunting for said eggs in a garden or park, stuffing chocolate into a basket with fake grass, and consuming too many Cadbury cream eggs. Oh yes, and church. And then we eat more chocolate.
Here in Spain Easter seems as much a national holiday as a religious one. You can read a bit about the history and significance of Semana Santa in Spain here.
For this Semana Santa, armed with an entire week of holidays, we set off for the south. The southern cities of Spain are the most alive this time of year, with elaborate processions with people dressed in traditional costumes. Some of the costumes are shown here:
During our Semana Santa trip we stayed in Montilla (a small town south of Cordoba), Marbella, and Sevilla. There wasn’t much to Montilla, though it was a wonderful glimpse into a traditional Spanish Easter, minus the crowds of tourists. In fact, I think we were the only tourists in Montilla that Palm Sunday. The beach city of Marbella also had some lovely processions.
And of course Sevilla. Sevilla: the very center of the Easter celebration in Spain. The city was packed, and I would second Jodie’s post from last season about booking early. We stayed just outside the very center, but still close enough to walk everywhere. This turned out to be a great decision when, once we had seen enough dark figures carrying crosses while barefoot on uneven stone, we could retreat to a quiet area. I say that like it was easy. Ha! The processions take over the city so much, and the streets are so tiny and windy, that it took over an hour to find our way back through the crowd. It was a wonderful and crazy adventure!
Semana Santa in Spain is an Easter unlike anywhere else. If you’re here in Spain during April do try to head to Andalucia if you can – it will be an Easter you’ll never forget.