In late March-early April, we always celebrate Easter in Spain. However, the way in which people celebrate this time of the year differs from one region of the country to another. You probably remember we call these holidays Semana Santa and Pascua, both of which have religious roots.
There are of course similarities in the religious ceremonies observed, which only vary between regions in degree of intensity and fervor: if you spend Easter in Sevilla you will probably not be able to walk along the streets because of the procesiones; however, if you happen to be in Barcelona, you may just run across old ladies and traditional families carrying their ramos and a few more people than usual attending la misa de Vigilia Pascual.
In addition to the procesiones, which last all week long in most of Andalucía and Castilla, we have many other lesser known traditions in Spain which we share with you in this post. You can learn specialized vocabulary in the process!
Domingo de Ramos with palmas: this is celebrated everywhere on the Sunday before Easter. People bring palmas y ramos de olivo, palm and olive branches, to be blessed during mass, and then keep them safe until the following year.
Tronar de los tambores: in Murcia they celebrate from the last minute of Holy Tuesday to Wednesday evening by making drums resound all day (and night!) long.
Luto de Viernes Santo: in Andalucía and Castilla, women dress in mourning during Holy Friday and Saturday; men wear trajes oscuros. There is strict protocol on the length of the mantilla that is worn during the luto, or the size of brooches that can be used to hold the mantilla in place. This protocol is mostly respected in these regions.
Ruptura de Pucheros: in Valencia, on Holy Saturday at midnight, people throw water and their old tableware off their windows, to celebrate the end of a period and the coming of the Resurrection as something new.
Mona de Pascua: the mona is a sweet pie of Valencian origin, which is also enjoyed in Murcia, Catalonia, Aragón and Castilla-La Mancha. Originally, it had the shape of a ring and included one or two eggs hidden in the pastry. Nowadays, the trend is to use more chocolate, so that the mona has come closer to un huevo de Pascua.
Pascua Granada: if you haven’t had enough Pascua in April, you can still get an additional holiday in May or early June: the Pascua Granada comes 50 days after Easter and represents both the Ascención de Jesús and the ripening of fruits and blossoming of flowers.
How do you celebrate Easter in your country? Please comment below! We enjoy learning different traditions, especially if they are fun!