Spain has always been the cradle of Christianity ever since the religion came over tot eh continent of Europe. Several traditions have developed over the centuries that have been an integral part of the local culture. The celebration of the Holy Week or the Semana Santa is one such that is fraught with a lot of religious sentiments that accompany the parades and the processions. It is the perfect time to experience the piety of this week that begins on the Sunday from your rented villa in Barcelona, prior to the week of Good Friday till Easter Sunday in Barcelona.
The processions and piety
The best way to explore is of course by going around the city on foot as you visit the most famous Cathedral of the Sagrada Familia or even the other magnificent churches. There are several brotherhoods of the lay people that take out processions to mark the penitence of the Holy Week that is a part of the forty days of penance in Catholicism.
Those that participate in the procession wear interesting costumes that cover the entire face and the body in the indigo cloth leaving only two small holes for the eyes to see. The cone shaped cap signifies the union with Divinity in the heavenly abode and the color signifies the Passion and the pain of Christ with which the Christian penitent identifies during this time. They also carry wooden figure from the Biblical verse with them to portray the life of Christ especially His Passion.
The celebration of the Passion
Maundy Thursday or the day before Good Friday is the time when you can witness the elaborate services in the Cathedral and the churches. The tradition of the priest washing the feet of the lay people signify the humility and the service of Chris who finally lay down His life for them.
Most churches will be decorated for the adoration of Christ from the Good Friday after the service till the Easter Sunday celebration that is filled with joy to signify the Resurrecting of Christ from the dead. You will do well to find out the specific timings of the Good Friday services in the individual churches. All establishments in Spain will be closed during this period except for the eateries.
The Easter Goodies
You will find a lot of Eater goodies in the market during this time that are typical to the Catalonian traditions. Apart from the traditional Easter eggs, there are the La Mona da Pascua that is a richly decorated with the chocolate eggs and the chicks to signify the new life of the Risen Christ. Godfathers gift them to the godsons as a part of their lesson in Christianity. There are also the Pestinos that are deep fried pastries coated with honey and sugar.