Semana Santa (Holy Week) in Spain – Watch the Nerja parades

Holy Week or Semana Santa / Easter Week is a fantastic time to be in Nerja. And anywhere else in Spain for that matter. If there is one thing the Spanish are fantastic at, it is creating an event. They do it in style and on a grand scale. No half measures.

Semana Santa  in Nerja. Penitents parading in Nerja. The robes were widely used in the medieval period for penitents, who could demonstrate their penance while still masking their identity.

Semana Santa in Spain. Penitent parading in Villanueva del Trabuco. The robes were widely used in the medieval period for penitents, who could demonstrate their penance while still masking their identity.

Why do they celebrate Semana Santa or Holy Week in Spain?

Semana Santa  in Nerja. Penitents parading in Nerja.

Looks quite scary? Penitent on Semana Santa

With this in mind, I’ve trawled the Internet for answers to questions often asked about Semana Santa and its traditions.

Holy Week in Spain is the annual tribute of the Passion of Jesus Christ celebrated by Catholic religious brotherhoods (Spanish: cofradía) and fraternities that perform penance processions on the streets of almost every Spanish city and town during the last week of Lent, the week immediately before Easter.

Semana Santa runs from Palm Sunday (Domingo de Ramos) to Easter Sunday (Domingo de Pascua), but since students (and some workers) enjoy a two-week break at this time, the full week preceding Easter as well as the following week comprise the Semana Santa holiday. The date of Easter changes from year to year.

No Easter Eggs for Semana Santa?

While chocolate Easter eggs are becoming more and more popular, they are not traditionally a big part of Easter celebrations in Spain. But that’s not to say Spaniards don’t have special sweet treats for Holy Week; Pestiños are little pastries popular throughout Spain, but especially in Andalusia.

A favourite dessert during Holy Week in Andalucia is rice pudding, arroz con leche, and you can expect most local bakeries to be offering torrijas. These are slices of bread dipped in egg then soaked in wine or milk, fried and sweetened with sugar and sprinkled with cinnamon.

Palm Sunday; What is it all about?

Palm Sunday commemorates the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:1–9) when palm branches were placed in his path, before his arrest on Holy Thursday and his crucifixion on Good Friday. It thus marks the beginning of Holy Week, the final week of Lent.

Why did Jesus enter riding an Ass?

Jesus‘ entry on a donkey has a parallel in Zechariah 9:9 which states that: thy king cometh unto thee; he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass. Therefore, Jesus‘ entry to Jerusalem symbolized his entry as the Prince of Peace, not as a warmongering king

Nerja puts on its own Semana Santa parades and they are great events. With this in mind, you should be booking your villa, apartment or house in Nerja for Semana Santa to take full advantage.

Also, for some of the terminology of Semana Santa, I have added a link. Click the main photograph. This will take you to a Holy Week Glossary. Here you will find a wealth of information, both interesting and informative.

Check out the main Nerja Paradise website for full details. You can contact us if you require more information or help with your booking. We will be delighted to hear from you.

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