Easter in Catalonia is more than just a celebratory Sunday every spring. In this primarily Catholic region of Spain, the week leading up to Easter Sunday is know as ‘Semanta Santa’ (or ‘Holy Week’) and is full of events in preparation for the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The week in Barcelona is enjoyable for Christians and non-Christians alike as trees begin to bloom and the weather warms up. If you’re spending the holiday in Barcelona, consider making plans to witness one of the elaborate parades and processions throughout the region.
To satisfy your nagging sweet tooth, head to Barcelona’s Chocolate Museum to view some of the most elaborate chocolate sculptures on the planet. Guests will receive a free chocolate bar upon arrival to satiate any cravings that arise after viewing (and smelling) rooms full of chocolate.
Palm Sunday. Palm Sunday is the Sunday one week before Easter Sunday, and kicks off the beginning of Holy Week in the region. On this day, there are parades and processions all over the city of Barcelona and in other towns across Catalonia. At churches in Barcelona, priests will bless palm leaves and sometimes go outside the church to bless people who carry laurel branches. According to the Catalan saying, ‘Domingo de Ramos: al que no estrena se le caen las manos!’, or ‘Palm Sunday: If you don’t wear something new, your hands will fall off!’
Good Friday. The Friday before Easter weekend is known as Good Friday, a day when most businesses are closed. In Barcelona, parades take place in Raval and in the the Gothic Quarter.
Easter Sunday. Most restaurants and shops close, and throngs head to Barcelona Cathedral where most of the action takes place. Parades feature floats of the Virgin Mary and other biblical figures, large Easter candles, and replicas of the cross.
Easter Monday. The day after Easter is a day of rest when Catalonians enjoy their famous Easter cakes called monas. During the 40 days leading up to Easter, a period known as ‘Lent’, Catalonians abstain from meat and eggs, so on Easter, families enjoy preparing and eating their desirable cakes. If you’re not much of a baker, pastry shops all over Barcelona sell their own versions of monas.