As Spain is a traditionally catholic country, Easter is a relevant feast here. During the holy week or Semana Santa in Barcelona, you can experience amazing Easter traditions.
Magnificent processions with beautifully decorated and adorned Easter floats can be seen making their way through Barcelona. Semana Santa in Spain lasts longer than in other European countries, so that the celebrations can be enjoyed for more than a week; the Semana Santa in Barcelona starts this year on the 29th of March and ends the 5th of April.
How to enjoy Semana Santa in Barcelona
The first day is Domingo de Ramos or Palm Sunday, and it’s the Sunday before the Easter weekend. In Barcelona, there is a Palm Sunday procession called La Borriquita organized by the Parish of Sant Agustin.
The procession starts from their home parish churches and goes to the Barcelona Cathedral and back. All churches in Barcelona have Palm Sunday masses, which usually include a blessing ceremony, during which children are carrying the palm stalks and stems. The palm leaves are often decorated with Catalan Senyera ribbons and have small bags of sweets or toys on the palms tied to them. According to an old Spanish tradition the godmother of the children is responsible for getting them the palm leaves. Following another tradition the children should wear a new item of cloth on Palm Sunday.
Nevertheless most Easter parades take place on Viernes Santo, or Good Friday, which will be on the 3rd April this year. The floats show biblical figures or scenes, for example Virgin Mary or saints. Many floats represent large wooden effigies of Christ either carrying the cross or on the cross. Thirty to fifty porters called costaleros carry the paso like a litter and as they are very heavy a break has to be taken every few minutes. The costaleros carry the floats along the procession route to the Cathedral and then return to their parish church. Notable are the robes the participant from the church are wearing which include a big hat with a pointy head.
Last day of the Easter celebration is Lunes de Pascua or Easter Monday. Good Friday and Easter Monday are public holidays. Most shops in Barcelona are closed, but restaurants and museums are open.
Easter Monday also is the Mona cake day and also called Dia de la Mona de Pasqua. As many Christians have given up on their favorite thing for 40 days, the cake is a symbol for the end of those days of lent and the beginning of spring! What could put a better ending to this abstinence than a delicious cake? There are two types of La Mona de Pascua cake. The traditional cake has the shape of a huge doughnut topped with boiled eggs. Nowadays the mona cake has become quite different and more fun. The eggs are made of chocolate, as also bakers put a layer of apricot jam in between and it’s decorated with a chocolate glaze, almonds, colorful feathers, cartoon characters or even the famous soccer players from FC Barcelona!
Don’t hesitate and enjoy a delicious Mona cake and get stunned by the splendid processions of Semana Santa in Barcelona!