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Semana Santa, a Spanish tradition

Semana Santa: a Spanish tradition

Have you ever heard of the Semana Santa?
It is a very famous Spanish tradition, spread throughout the Iberian peninsula, especially in the south, which wants to celebrate the Catholic Holy Week, just before Easter. But if it is a Christian tradition, why is it so important and particularly celebrated in Spain?

Discover it by reading the following paragraphs.

What is the Semana Santa?

Holy Week (or Semana Santa) are the seven days leading up to Easter Sunday. It starts on Palm Sunday and finishes on the Saturday just before Easter Sunday. During this week, there are some important days leading up to Easter, like Holy Thursday and Good Friday. The famous celebrations of the Semana Santa in Spain began around the 16th century. People would present scenes from the story of the Passion of Christ by walking in processions. Today, these celebrations certainly happen in the regions of Spain, especially in Seville and Andalusia.

These celebrations are characterized by the famous “pasos”, huge extravagant floats that make their way through the crowds in the processions, as shown in the picture below.

Semana Santa celebrations in SpainPaso during the Holy Week Procession, Spain.

Each float is a representation of the story of the Passion of Christ. Many of the sculptures used in the processions are over 300 years old and are masterpieces dating back to the 16th century.

Who can join the parades?

Processions are made by the Costaleros, all the people who carry the pasos on their shoulders during the parade. The name Costaleros comes from the white protective garment (el costal) they wear on their heads. These people are usually locals and members of the church’s brotherhood, or cofradías. Normally, there are between 20 to 40 Costaleros per float and practice all year round to be trained for Holy Week.

Semana Santa Andalusia
Black Costaleros among the streets of Jerez de la Frontera, Andalusia

Where is the Semana Santa mostly celebrated?

Andalusia and Castilla y León are the regions that have the biggest celebrations in Spain. However, the cities in the region celebrate differently.

Sevilla, of course, has the biggest Semana Santa celebrations in Spain. Many people from all over the world travel here because it’s currently an internationally famous event. In Sevilla, La Madrugá (Early Rise) is surely the most important event of the Spanish Holy Week. It is a tradition that begins at night on Holy Thursday and continues into the next morning on Good Friday. This is when all of the processions make their way to the Cathedral of Seville, where Christopher Columbus is buried.

Semana Santa Seville, Andalusia
Parade among the streets of Seville, Andalusia, Spain

Have you ever attended this famous event?
If you are going to join one of these amazing processions, just make sure you have with you this metal rosary, which retraces the fourteen Stations of the Cross.

Stations of the cross rosary in metal




Related articles:
How to do the Stations of the Cross at home in 5 simple steps→
Lenten season: a complete guide→
The Great Lent unveiled in 5 basic facts→ 

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