Spain takes Easter really seriously, in a way is the second most celebrated date of the year, after Christmas of course. It is a Christian celebration, and we call it “saint week” and it commemorates The Christ Passion. It lasts 7 days and during that time the streets of every city in Spain are crowded, full of music and colors, which makes it a great moment to visit Spain, but of course, not every part of Spain is in the same way.
The most popular activity in each city of Spain is the procession. These parades consist of a group of Nazarenes, wearing exuberant dresses, holding representations of Christ´s life and playing the drums at the rhythm of the steps, depending on the city there are other instruments, going from gregorian chants to the cornet. They are impressive because of the seriousness of the activity, but also worth watching.
The south of Spain has the most joyful celebration, pointing Sevilla as the capital of this festival in Spain. It has popular processions, but the proportions and emotions of these make it more special. With 50.000 Nazarenes participating and the population of Sevilla getting double only for that week, it is a unique event everybody should watch once in a lifetime.
Sticking in the south, we go to Hellín, Albacete with an impressive tradition made of drums and more drums and more drums… More than 20.000 people take their drums and go out to the streets to play them with a characteristic attire made of red and black. During one of the days of the celebration, the drummers stay all night without any rest playing the drums even until bleeding honoring Christ´s suffering.
Moving to the east of Spain, into Catalunya, during this week every bakery reveals a special dessert, this special food is called “Mona de Pascua” which is a kind of pie with an egg over it and it’s given from the godfather/godmother to the godson/goddaughter. It is well known for being delicious and for the family reunion that comes with it always on Easter Monday.
There is another kind of food that is traditionally eaten at Easter and it is “Torrijas”. This sweet can be eaten during the whole year but Easter is a special moment for that. This ritual is not about regions, in the whole of Spain during these days yo have to have “Torrijas” for breakfast at least once. Made out of bread, milk, sugar, and cinnamon, there is not a better way to wake up than smelling them.
For last but not least let´s get to something a little bit more personal, in some villages of Spain (and mine) during those days a different kind of celebration happens. It’s called “Quintos” and it’ss about esteeming the kids who are getting into adulthood and all the population of the village participates in it. Its history comes from long ago when the boys had to go to do the military service and this was the way of wishing a good farewell for them. Times have changed and now is a celebration for boys and girls although they don´t have to leave home after it.
This celebration in Spain, as I said in the beginning, is Christian but everybody is invited to enjoy it. Spain is not only a Summer holiday option, but our culture also goes beyond warmth and beaches, so if you are wondering, don´t hesitate and visit it.