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Capirotes used to be reserved for people doing penance: as a sign of atoning their sins, they would walk through the town wearing the hat, their faces covered so they could not be recognized as sinners. Although strikingly similar, they have nothing to do with the hoods worn by the Ku Klux Klan. Women often wear the mantilla, a black lace veil worn high on the back of the head. The Palm Sunday procession in Zamora. In most Easter processions, participants carry large floats, or pasos , that are adorned with religious sculptures depicting Jesus or Mary, some by renowned Spanish artists.
The floats are festooned with flowers and candles and are the focal point of the procession.
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Many brotherhoods have owned and preserved their pasos for hundreds of years. Where are the best places to spend Easter in Spain? The region's flamenco heritage seeps into its Easter celebrations, making for a fest like no other in Spain and one that attracts the most tourists. Seville holds some of the biggest Holy Week processions including La Madruga dawn , a series of processions that take place during the night of Maundy Thursday and into the morning of Good Friday, a highlight of Semana Santa for many spectators.
Listen out for the saetas , or bursts of flamenco from people on balconies along the procession route who are so moved by the spectacle they have to express their lament. Women wearing the traditional mantilla during Semana Santa in Seville.
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There is a real festival atmosphere in the city during Holy Week, much livelier than some of the more sombre celebrations in Spain's northern towns and cities. Celebrations in the central region of Castille La Mancha are famous for their more sombre and, some would say, authentic Semana Santa parades.
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A holy week procession in Zamora, Zamora pictured above lays claim to the oldest Semana Santa celebrations in Spain, which date back to The city, close to the Portuguese border, sees its population increase five times during Holy Week, as up to , people flock to watch the ancient traditions. Salamanca also holds Holy Week fests that date back hundreds of years, with the earliest penance processions recorded as far back as Valladolid's processions are renowned for their pasos floats which carry religious statues dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries. The city's National Sculpture Museum donates over images to be used during the processions, making it one of Spain's most artistic parades.
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What should I eat? 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. Torrijas are a traditional Semana Santa sweet snack of bread soaked in milk and egg before being fried and served with sugar or honey, and are available all over the country during Holy Week.
Sesame-flavoured dough is fried then glazed with honey or sugar. But you never know! So check the forecast and it if there is even the slightest chance of rain make sure to carry an umbrella.
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I'm not so bothered about Easter, what else is on over the public holiday? Ferrari Land opens just in time for the Easter holidays.
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Other pages Apartment rentals Noticeboard. The essential guide to Easter in Spain The Local. Share this article. The Local gives you the lowdown on how to celebrate Semana Santa like a Spaniard. Why is Easter such a big deal in Spain? What happens during Semana Santa? What are they wearing?
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