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The holy week in Spain is a tribute that takes place every year in honor of the Passion of Jesus Christ. This consists of celebrations carried out by Catholic religious’ brotherhoods. Especially, made by penitential processions in the streets of almost all Spanish cities and towns this season. Each of these processions has characteristic hoods and tunics. Furthermore, they are a fundamental part of the pious popular tradition in Spain. On the other hand, the brotherhoods carry magnificent steps or floats with sculptures that represent different scenes from the gospels.

Celebrating Spanish Holy Week is a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the country's rich religious and cultural traditions. In addition, admire the impressive processions and experience the devotion and solemnity that surround this sacred period. Especially, in the Andalusian cities you can see dazzling celebrations during the holy week in Spain.

What and when is the Holy Week in Spain

The holy week, better known as Semana Santa in Spanish, is the entire week before Easter Sunday. Its essence is to commemorate the last week of the life of Jesus Christ, that is, the last supper, crucifixion, and resurrection.

In Spain, holy week or passion week is a time of religious reflection and fervent processions. In addition, being able to enjoy a variety of traditions that vary according to the region.

For instance, Easter Sunday, the pinnacle of Holy Week, celebrates the resurrection of Jesus. This is the day that symbolizes the holy week meaning, it is celebrated with joyful festivities and a sense of renewal. Each of these is to commemorate hope and the triumph of life over death.

Why is Holy Week such an important festivity in Spain?

The holy week in Spain, despite being a secular country, is deeply linked to its cultural and historical ties with Catholicism. Officially, Spain is a secular state, and despite that Catholicism plays an important role. Especially in the configuration of its traditions, history, and cultural identity.

During the Passion Week timeline, a centuries-old tradition that is an integral part of Spanish culture. That is, it goes beyond mere religious observance and is a multifaceted social and cultural event.

The rituals, processions, and traditions of Semana Santa have an embedded cultural value. That is why many Spaniards, even those who are not devoutly religious, appreciate and participate in these practices.

When is Holy Week in Spain?

Surely you are wondering when Semana Santa starts, in 2024 it begins on March 24 and ends on March 31.

Generally, Easter in Spain usually has days between March and April, the exact dates vary each year. The celebrations begin with Palm Sunday and continue until Easter Sunday, that is, Easter in Spain.

A good recommendation is to pay attention to the dates when Holy Week begins, especially if you are traveling to Spain. Especially since during this period some businesses and tourist attractions may remain closed.

That is, consulting the specific dates of Holy Week in Spain will help you plan your itinerary more effectively.

As you already know when Easter is in Spain, you can plan a trip to this country during the holidays. If you are in Europe with an EU Blue card you can enter this nation during Spanish Easter and enjoy.

Visit Spain during the Holy Week

If you have plans to visit Spain, it is good to know what typically happens during Holy Week in Spain. To define this, you have to know some important factors during the celebration:

  • During Holy Week many schools close. As a result, many families can take advantage of these vacations to retire to their second homes. Thus, they can flee from urban centers that attract a greater influx of visitors.
  • Throughout the period you will be able to enjoy very favorable weather conditions for visitors. You can probably find sunny days and mild weather. That is why it makes it an attractive time to explore Spain and do different outdoor activities.
  • There may be holidays in the opening hours of shops and tourist attractions. That is why it is best to investigate the specific schedules and availability of the places you want to visit during Holy Week in Spain.
  • It is best to book your accommodation well in advance thanks to the increase in demand during Easter. This way, you can guarantee availability and potentially benefit from better rates.

If you are a foreigner it is important to know that you need a visa to enter Spain, a good idea is to apply for the Schengen visa.

Spanish Customs and Traditions

All regions of Spain infuse their own distinctive customs into Passion Week. That is, traditions may vary slightly from one region to another, but two common elements unite the various celebrations of Semana Santa in Spain. The first is the processions and the second are the typical Holy Week meals.


Holy Week in Spain is special for its religious parades and processions that vividly portray the Passion and Death of Christ.

In the center of these processions, you can see the Cofradías or brotherhoods. That is religious organizations organize and participate in events.

The center of the processions are the steps, large floats with large religious figures. Especially those that represent scenes from the Passion of Christ. Each of these sculptures, dating back centuries, is generally a work of art of incalculable value.

Each of the steps is carried on the shoulders of participating devotees and is called costaleros.

A special feature of the Spanish Holy Week processions is the presence of Nazarenes. Each of the penitents is identifiable by their distinctive hoods, tunics, and capes, which they march in the processions as a sign of humility and penitence.

It is important to note that the clothing has no relation to the Ku Klux Klan. Hooded tunics are part of a long tradition in Spanish processions. Additionally, they have a religious and symbolic purpose.

In Spain, some processions are extremely important, which are:

  • La Madrugá in Seville: These are the morning processions during Good Friday in Spain. La Madruga in Seville is an intense event full of positive emotions and feelings.
  • Jesús Nazareno de Medinaceli: In Madrid, this procession is a notable event where you can see numerous participants and spectators. The solemnity and reverence that it shows is a special moment for Holy Week in the capital.
  • The Gypsy Procession in Granada: In Granada, you can witness the vibrant Gypsy Procession during Holy Week. You will enjoy a lively atmosphere and unique cultural elements.
  • The Recumbent Procession in Zamora: In Zamora, you can find a Silent Procession that is special for its profound stillness. 


Before knowing how many days until Easter, it is interesting to know which are the most interesting celebrations during Holy Week.

It is common knowledge that Holy Week in Spain is not only a time for religious observance; You will also be able to enjoy traditional foods during the Easter Week timeline.

In this section you will see a list of the most important typical foods that you can enjoy during Spanish Easter:

  • Easter Eggs: Everyone knows that Easter Eggs are a globally recognized symbol, but Spain has a unique vision of this tradition. Easter eggs are usually chocolate eggs that have different surprises.

Generally, these eggs are exchanged and enjoyed like candy, adding a touch of joy to the festivities.

  • Mona de Pascua: An exquisite and desired dish in Spain is the Mona de Pascua. Simply put, it is a sweet cake that you can traditionally find during Holy Week in Spain. Generally, it has decorations with vibrant colors. 
  • Torrijas: Torrijas is a much-loved delicacy during Holy Week. To prepare it you have to take the slices of bread and soak them in milk or wine. Subsequently, you have to sweeten them with honey or sugar and cool them until you obtain an ideal golden brown.
  • Buñuelos: Buñuelos are small round cakes that make a delicious appearance during Holy Week. Generally, these donuts are simply fried and sprinkled with sugar, to create a light, crispy exterior.

Families usually gather during these days to observe Holy Week. During these days, you can enjoy these traditional foods that will transport you to a tasty dimension of the celebrations.

If you are a foreigner who wants to enjoy these meals during Easter with a Schengen visa, you have to investigate which is the easiest country to process the Schengen visa.

Other traditions

If you are looking for a country to travel to in 2024, a good option is Spain during Holy Week. The truth is that there are many other activities apart from the previous ones that you can enjoy and they are the following:

  • Northern Rock Caves with the family: If you want to travel with children during Holy Week, one of the best activities is to visit the prehistoric caves in the North of Spain. The best idea is to visit Cantabria and go to the Monte Castillo Caves in Puente Viesgo.

In addition, you can contemplate the cave paintings and attend guided tours. One recommendation is that you attend experimental archeology workshops with your children.

  • Cherry blossoms in the Jerte Valley: Holy Week coincides with the beginning of spring, which is why it is time to enjoy the countryside and the flowering of fruit trees. This can be the ideal plan for couples because it is a very beautiful and romantic space.

One of the most impressive events is the flowering of the cherry trees in the Jerte Valley in the north of Cáceres. If you want to fully enjoy it, you have to be in Spain between March 20 and April 10. You can attend one of the most sublime spectacles of spring, which dresses the valley in white.

  • Medieval towns of the Prepineo: If you are in Europe with an Au Pair visa you cannot stop enjoying the heritage and visiting fairytale towns. One recommendation is the route through the Pre-Pyrenees, a plan for Easter that will take you through Navarrese and Aragonese lands.
  • Getaway to Euskadi: In Euskadi, you can find everything you need to enjoy a complete vacation. Especially if you want to enjoy charming towns, glamorous cities, beaches, and succulent cuisine.

Curious Facts about the Holy Week in Spain

  • Many tourists who visit Holy Week in Spain each year confuse the attire of the Nazarenes with that of the Ku Klux Klan. That is a world-renowned American racist group, unlike Spanish traditions.
  • Holy Week is celebrated on the first Sunday of the full moon after the spring equinox. Specifically, to celebrate the Christian tradition that Jesus died on a full moon night on the cross. Thus, the church decreed that Easter Sunday was the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox.
  • Christian tradition dictates a 40-day fast, specifically, during Lent. This fast is a type of penance and consists of consuming only one or two small meals a day. Furthermore, every Good Friday in Spain believers have to abstain from eating poultry and red meat.
  • Finally, for Christians, Holy Week is a time of forgiveness and reflection. Every year, the Spanish government provides pardons to several prisoners during Holy Week. The selection process begins with the Council of Ministers. It is subsequently proposed by the Ministry of Justice to the King, who has the final authority to grant the pardon.

In summary, you can see that Holy Week is an interesting and fun activity to enjoy in Spain. However, you have to know that if you are a foreigner you will need some type of visa that allows you to enter the country. If you want advice and support during this process, it is best to contact Find Your Visa.

Additionally, you can visit and read our blog section to find ideas about your next destination. Especially if you are a travel fanatic, whether with your family, alone or with a partner who wants to be on a constant adventure.


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