Holy Week or Semana Santa, is one of the most popular festivities in Catholic Spanish speaking countries. In South America lots of the traditions come originally from Spain, but the individual countries have put their own stamp on them.
Spain changes completely during Easter week. Everybody, everywhere, turns out to experience one of Spain’s most traditional events to the full. Even though traditions vary from one city to the other, in general these holidays are celebrated with processions through the streets, while floats called “tronos” are being carried by around forty or fifty people.
When it comes to treats, Easter eggs are becoming more popular every year, even though they are not traditionally a big part of Easter celebrations in Spain. The most popular sugary treat at this time of year are “torrijas”“, a sweet snack of bread soaked in milk and egg, that is then fried and served with sugar or honey.
Andalucia is the most famous Spanish region for Easter celebrations. It’s 52 different religious brotherhoods parade through the streets during the whole week of Holy Week, wearing traditional dress and carrying crosses. Processions in cities like Seville and Malaga are world famous, with celebrities like Antonio Banderas getting involved every year, and some last for almost 24 hours.
Easter is a big celebration in Argentina and various traditions are carried out to mark the occasion. People fast, and don’t eat meat during Holy Week, with unnecessary luxuries avoided until Easter Sunday.
To celebrate Jesus’ resurrection, Argentinians eat and share eggs, eat a special Easter Cake and a pastry called “Rosca de Pascua”. Traditionally, people exchange eggs not only with their family, but also with friends and colleagues and the day culminates in attending mass followed by a big family gathering involving lots of food. Argentinians tend to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection with a huge barbeque and a treasure hunt organized by the local governments in the main cities, so that everyone has a chance to participate.
All over Mexico, Holy Week and Easter are celebrated as significant religious holidays. Even though each community celebrates the holiday according to their own tradition, there’s one that is popular across the whole country; breaking of ““cascarones””, colored egg shells filled with confetti, over friends and family.
During the Passion of Christ, you can see large processions of penitents, a portrayal of the last supper and the crucifixion itself. In Iztapalapa, a small district south of Mexico City, they have one of the biggest and most popular celebrations in the world, where everyone in the borough takes part. It doesn’t matter if you are young or old, during Holy Week all the community gets together and each citizen becomes part of the cast that represents Jesus, the Virgin Mary, the Nazarenes, the guards, the apostles, etc.
How about you? How do you celebrate Easter where you’re from? Do you know any other interesting traditions around the world? Share them with us! Visit our Facebook page and leave a comment!