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Semana Santa

by Candice Kalil
holy week spain granada spain semana santa

What I didn´t know coming to study abroad in Granada was the importance of Holy Week in Spain. I knew Spain was very Catholic, but little did I know how extravagant Holy Week, or in Spanish “Semana Santa,” festivities are.

The best part was getting to see it with my family! My spring break coincided with Semana Santa and my brother and father made it out to Spain to visit! We spent a few days in Granada, then went to the beach town of Torremolinos to relax and then a day in Malaga. When they arrived we were surrounded by the processions of Semana Santa. These processions are held for the entire week and they are put on by different “brotherhoods” or local organizations that citizens belong to. Each brotherhood has a procession and, here comes the crazy part, they carry them. They are massive floats holding the statues of the Virgin Mary and Jesus for the Cathedral and churches themselves.

In Guatemala these processions are also big and people balance the weight of the giant float on their shoulders. Not in Spain though. Here they have a specific head dress/wrap that allows them to balance the weight on the back of their heads. It’s pretty impressive. You could see people touching the float and blessing themselves; it was an amazing tradition to see!

The processions were every day throughout Holy Week with the largest being both Holy Thursday and Saturday, which I unfortunately missed. After seeing Semana Santa, it is hard to compare it to other religious celebrations because of how grand it was. I would have missed out on an important cultural tradition and learning experience if I hadn’t seen Semana Santa while studying here. And it was all the more special to experience this uniquely Spanish Easter celebration with my family.

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