In order to learn Spanish, it is essential to know the culture that surrounds and gives meaning to the language.
Cultural events, typical dishes, sporting competitions, works of art, films, books… Everything adds up when it comes to studying the Spanish language.
Festivities, on the other hand, also play an important role in the process of comprehensive and long-lasting learning.
A good part of the festivities have religious origins, particularly Catholic. This is quite logical, since Hispanic culture has been strongly influenced by religion throughout its history.
The Holy Week is one of the most celebrated and popular dates in Spain. There are traditions in different cities, and today we will tell you about some of them.
Spanish Express gives you the lowdown on Holy Week in Spain and what are some of the most important places to visit during this holiday.
Holy Week in Seville
Seville, the capital of Andalusia, is the city where Holy Week in Spain is most and best celebrated.
During the days from Friday of Sorrows to Easter Sunday, this beautiful city is covered with religious processions that touch the hearts of tourists. It is estimated that around 60 brotherhoods make the procession during Holy Week.
It is a pleasure to enjoy the Nazarenes, the pasos, the processions and all the hustle and bustle in which music, faith and colour mingle. The night between Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, known as Madrugá, is the most special, as many brotherhoods carry out their processions: the Brotherhood of Silence, the Brotherhood of the Gypsies, and the Virgin of the Macarena, among others.
Holy Week in Malaga
Considered one of the most beautiful cities on the entire peninsula, Malaga is a must-see destination for experiencing the excitement of Holy Week in Spain. Even if religion is not your strong point, you will have a wonderful time in this coastal city.
The processions fill the streets of Malaga, from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday. The popular processions here are called “tronos”. Women in mantillas can be seen singing saetas to the religious figures.
Not to be missed are the processions of the Passion on Easter Monday and the Congregation of Mena on Maundy Thursday. In the latter, you can see how the legion carries the Christ of the Good Death and Souls through the streets of Malaga.
Calle Larios, the most famous street in the city, forms part of the “carrera oficial”. You can also enjoy a good view of the processions from the so-called “tribune of the poor”, a staircase with steps ideal for spectators.
Holy Week in Cuenca
Cuenca’s peculiar urban layout, with its slopes and winding narrow streets, makes it a particularly outstanding place to celebrate Holy Week. The first brotherhoods were created in the 17th century, which is when the tradition began. In total, nine processions are held with more than 30,000 participants. One of the highlights is the Camino del Calvario, which takes place on Good Friday in the early hours of the morning. In this procession you can hear the well-known sound of the mobs, produced by the drums and trumpets that precede the image of Jesus.
The processions held to commemorate the death of Jesus Christ combine devotion, art, colour and song. In them, members of the numerous brotherhoods and sisterhoods walk through the streets, dressed in traditional costumes and to the rhythm of drums and music, creating scenes of solemn beauty.
Important orchestras and performers of international renown take part in Cuenca’s Religious Music Week, which is held annually and coincides with Holy Week in Spain.
Holy Week in Cáceres
Located in the autonomous region of Extremadura, Cáceres is another special place to experience Holy Week in Spain.
For nine days, visitors witness a celebration that mixes characteristic aspects of Castilian tradition with certain Andalusian customs. Its streets, with their mediaeval aesthetic, are filled with people who take part in the processional parade.
The procession of the Black Christ is one of the most popular, as it represents an important moment in the history of this festivity. A 14th-century carving walks through the city under a sepulchral silence on Holy Wednesday, which is an incredible experience.
Holy Week in Toledo
The so-called Imperial City, Toledo, has a very special way of experiencing Holy Week in Spain.
Unlike in Seville and Malaga, Toledo’s processions are quite sober. Its mediaeval-looking streets have a very particular historical air, which combines very well with the solemnity of the celebration of the Passion of Christ.
It is worth noting the skill of the “cofrades” (brotherhoods) as they make the images pass through the narrow streets of the historic quarter.
As the processions take place at night, it is interesting to visit churches and convents that are usually closed at that time of day during the rest of the year.
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