The Mysterious Spanish Festival of Semana Santa

Spain is famous for its Semana Santa or Holy development traditions week, and if you're planning a trip to Spain for the week before Easter, you will find yourself in the midst of these extraordinary festivals. Spanish participants take part in a series of bizarre ritual apparently dating from medieval times and beyond.

Eerie dresses

The festival of Semana Santa Spanish has different traditions in different regions but throughout the country, participants are remarkable for their dramatic interest to research medieval-style robes of penitence, or "Nazarenes."

The dresses are very striking because of their hoods, which have a tapered end used to conceal the face, and sometimes a long coat. Ironically, these dresses have been the basis for the traditional uniform of members of the Ku Klux Klan in the United States, a very anti-Catholic organization.

These strange-looking robes and hoods can the Spanish holidaymakers feel like they had just stepped back in time, and they have a very long tradition. In medieval times, penitents wear hoods so they could demonstrate their penance while keeping their identities secret.

Penitent accessories

Many participants also carry candles or wooden crosses, and some barefoot walk or carry shackles and chains on their feet. Overall, these accessories give a truly electric atmosphere at this festival Spanish, which can add a spiritual dimension to a holiday Spanish.

If you're planning a holiday custom in Spain at Easter, be sure to include a visit to an area with some of the most famous processions, so you can take part in this remarkable series of Spanish festivals.


Seville has probably some of the most elaborate processions for Semana Santa festival. Spanish holidaymakers can watch the procession of antique wooden carvings, or "pasos", scenes of the events that occurred between the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and his burial, or images of the Virgin Mary showing contained pain of torture and murder of his son are carried through the streets.

They usually weigh over a ton, and carried into the necks of members of religious orders that organize each procession. These artistic masterpieces are a great way to get a taste of the county's artistic heritage Spanish holiday.

A band may accompany the group, playing funereal religious hymns or "Marchas written for the occasion. Some processions are silent with no musical accompaniment.


If your own holidays in Spain, includes a trip to Malaga, you will be able to see processions of huge images of the Passion on huge floats decorated, some with more than 5000 kilograms carried by over 250 people. Penitent purple dress with pointed hats and Nazarenes are followed by women in black carrying candles.

Drums and trumpets of the solemn music playing and occasionally someone spontaneously sings a sad "Saeta" dedicated to a float as it made its way slowly around the street. This is one of the most solemn festivals Semana Santa in Spain.


Semana Santa processions in León are very popular, with more than 15,000 penitents through the streets. During the "procession de los Pasos", which lasted nine hours, about 4,000 penitents carry 13 "floats" around the city.

The most solemn moment (although it might not sound) is El Encuentro, or "Reunion", when the floats depicting St. John and La Dolorosa face each other and the penitents move as if they were dancing together.


The largest procession in Linares is a night procession ten, the "procession del Nazareno. The biggest "paso" in the Semana Santa Linares represents the Last Supper. This group of sculptures is the masterpiece of a great Spanish sculptor named Victor de los Rios.

If you take a holiday custom in Spain at Easter and incorporate one or more of these areas, you're bound to learn a few things about this festival, works of Spanish art and religious devotion to the country's serious Semana Santa and putting on an amazing show.


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