Top 3 Things to Do During Semana Santa in Spain

The Holy Week in Spain is one of the most important events of the year. Due to its strong catholic tradition, Spain celebrates the “Semana Santa” much more than most other European countries. During the whole week, from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, there are huge street processions taking place in almost every big city throughout Spain. The whole country seems to be paralyzed for a week because everyone is on vacation and everything that is happening in public life is dedicated to the Easter celebrations.

If you are going to visit Spain during this time and you are overwhelmed by the variety of hundreds and hundreds activities you are offered, you better focus on a few things in order to enjoy your stay to the fullest. Don’t worry, we already created a list for you with the Top 3 things to do during Semana Santa! Here’s our survival guide for the Easter Week:

1.) Watch the traditional street procession in “Toledo”

In the street processions, that date from medieval times, people carry statues of saints on floats or wooden platforms around the city followed by all the habitants of the town. The statues usually show individual scenes of the events that happened between Jesus’ arrest and his burial or can be  images of the Virgin Mary displaying grief for the torture and killing of her son.

Even though Seville is supposed to be the place with the most festivities during the Semana Santa, we recommend you to go to Toledo this year if you want to enjoy one of the traditional street processions that are organized during the whole week. Toledo is easy to access from Madrid and its traditional processions are as authentic as the Andalusian’s ones but less touristy as Seville gets incredibly crowded at this time. You can check the website of the Toledo City Hall for more information on the religious processions and events taking place during Semana Santa. The main parade is on Friday but the fiestas continue almost non-stop until Sunday so sleep is not an option!

2.) Try the delicious “Torrijas”

Like any other festival, Semana Santa has its own special delicacies that are available in every local pasteleria throughout Spain during the Easter period. Traditionally Catholics are not supposed to eat meat during the Easter week so you can find lots of delicious sweets that you can only get at this time of the year.

Depending on where you celebrate you can find a big variety of baked goods aromatized with different kind of ingredients such as cinnamon, honey or licor. The most famous ones are the “Torrijas”, thickly sliced bread dipped in egg, then soaked in wine or milk and finally fried. You can serve it with sugar and cinnamon or add a bit of licor and honey. Once you’ve tried them, you’ll be hooked!

3.) Listen to the tipical “saeta” songs

What is a “saeta” you may ask yourself? The truth is, it’s the saddest song you’ve probably ever heard! The “saeta” songs are an essential element of Semana Santa, particularly in Andalusia. It is a religious song that has its origins in the flamenco folkore and it was originally sung from a balcony by a man who was overwhelmed by his emotions and spontaneously started singing.

Today they have become a big part of the procession itself and the parade will stop and listen to the “Saeta” until it’s over. If you can’t make it to one of the processions, you can find lots of “saeta” songs online in order to still get “the feeling” the songs give you.

Have a nice Easter Holiday!

 

 

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