Last week was Semana Santa, the Holy Week leading up to Easter, la Pascua. In Spain, Semana Santa began the 25th and lasted till the 1st- it’s a big deal: processions march through the streets, which are so full of people that it is IMPOSSIBLE to walk anywhere… I left for travel on Monday the 26th, so I missed most of Semana Santa, but was fortunate enough to see the final procession yesterday.
Prior to Semana Santa, Granada was buzzing with activity: bleachers were set up along main streets the processions would pass through, decorations were put up throughout the city, ramps were installed, and even trashcans were put everywhere. In churches, people rushed around setting up the floats that were to be used in the processions and extra services were held for Good Friday, etc. In all honesty, immediately prior to and the beginning of Semana Santa were the most people, particularly tourists (heard so much English it was strange!), I have ever seen in Granada.
While Richie was visiting Alison, Richie, and I stopped in a few churches to see the Semana Santa floats- what an amazing experience!! The statues on top of the floats are actually the statues that normally sit in their alcoves in the churches- they have been lifted onto the floats and decorated. Keep in mind that these floats are solid wood (incredibly heavy), real metal varnishes, and quite old. Before the processions, they are assembled, polished, and decorated. If it rains during Semana Santa, the floats are not taken out of the church, and I was told that the devout wail in sorrow.
|Items to be used in the floats/to decorate the churches|
|Examples of some robes worn in the processions|
I was travelling the majority of Semana Santa, but I did see the last procession yesterday! It travelled down my street so I took pictures from the balcony. The people you see dressed in white with the pointed hats (called capirotes) may look like KKK members, but I promise you they are not. It’s quite a shock for an American to see them walking through the streets during the week, but these outfits are religious in nature and have no affiliation with the KKK. Some wear the capirotes as a symbol of penitence- others to avoid their physical appearances drawing attention away from the floats and holy nature of the procession. Read more here.
From what I understand, most processions are comprised of a float with Jesus/ a saint and a virgen. You hear certain music during Semana Santa as bands process through the streets accompanying the floats and children swing incense in front of the floats, creating clouds of billowing, fragrant smoke. The processions are quite long- the procession I saw yesterday began at 10 am and lasted until about 6pm- as they travel through the city streets. Symbolism is key as well- yesterday, girls’ veils were white, symbolizing the celebration of resurrection. However, throughout the week, girl’s veils were all black in a symbol of mourning. Here are pictures of the procession for Domingo de Resurrección I saw yesterday!
Certain foods are also common to Semana Santa. Richie and I made torrijas with GF toast! Torrijas are pretty similar to french toast but with vanilla and honey- yummmm. Here’s a link with Semana Santa foods Edu shared with us: food
I am definitely not an expert on Semana Santa, and I apologize for any mistakes/misinterpretations I may have made (let me know)! Edu shared this very informative link with us about Semana Santa. If you are interested in learning/reading more, I recommend checking it out here!
Another post coming soon on Semana Santa travels 😊