From dancing skeletons to colourful carpet-adorned streets, Easter brings a wealth of different traditions throughout the Spanish-speaking world. Read more to find out how the Holy Week is celebrated by Spanish-speakers in different parts of the world. And Happy Easter from us!
Verges, Gerona and the Dance of Death
Photo credit: Bones Vacances
In Spain, Easter is takes on many different traditions in the different parts of the country. For the inhabitants of Verges, Gerona, a special ‘Dance of Death’ is performed on Maundy Thursday. The medieval old town provides an atmospheric setting for actors and dancers reenacting critical moments in the life of Christ. However, the perfomace takes on a darker approach by focusing on the betrayal of Judas and Christ’s death in Gethsemane. At midnight, a creepy procession of dancing skeletons fill the streets as Jesus walks to his death.
Seville, Spain and marching processions of religious brotherhoods
Marching processions of over 60 religious brotherhoods fill the cobbled streets of Seville during Semana Santa. Burning candles and the sound of mournful trumpets create an other-worldy ambience which transports even the most casual observer to another time. A particularly eye-catching procession is that of the Nazarenos, also known as the penitents. The participants don robes, capes and cone-shaped headgear which symbolises a rise to the heavens.
Antigua, Guatemala and colourful carpet-adorned streets
Photo credit: Taringa!
Easter week (Semana Santa) in Antigua Guatemala bursts with colour and festivity. Luxurious alfombras (Arabic work for carpets) adorn the cobbled streets between processions. This tradition dates back to the 16th century and was meant to ease walking on the uneven cobblestone streets. Families and friends being preparations weeks and months ahead of the festival to create these beautiful offerings.
Colombia and Easter meals of iguanas and turtles
Photo credit: Freeimages
During Easter time, many Colombians feast on food that most Westerners would not associate with this spring holiday. Slider turtles, green iguanas and cayman stew are served up in age-old receipes of indigenous people. These animals are native to Colombia and plentiful during the spring Easter period.
Here’s some useful Easter vocabulary to take away with you! Happy Easter everyone!:
La Semana Santa – Holy Week
Barrio – Neighbourhood
Calle – Street
Costumbre – Custom
Fiesta – Party
Flores – Flowers
Gente – People
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