4 Good Reasons to Celebrate Easter in Barcelona
Barcelona Easter celebrations are a must-see for everyone, whether you are a follower of J.C. or not. Spain’s strong Catholic tradition indeed reveals itself in its entire splendor during those 10 days. Barcelona processions are one of the numerous ways in which Catalans celebrate Easter.
For those who don’t know or don’t remember, la Semana Santa (or Holy Week) of Easter (Pascua in Spanish) begins on the last Friday of March (Viernes de Dolores, or Friday of Pain) and lasts until the first Sunday of April (Domingo de Resurrección, or Sunday of Resurrection). Christians celebrate Christ’s death on the Cross and His resurrection three days later. The high point is achieved on Good Friday (Viernes Santo), the first Friday of April.
Barcelona Semana Santa is sweet in every way:
1) Good Friday (April 2nd, 2010) and Holy Monday (April 5th, 2010) are OFF! Nobody works on those days, also called “festivos”. Sometimes, some businesses (mostly popular shops and restaurants in less touristy barrios) are closed for the whole week. For those who know how Rome looks like during Ferragosto (August 15th) – that is, like a desert of closed doors and empty streets – don’t worry! Of course, shops and restaurants in Barcelona may be closing earlier but most of them, especially in el Gotico or near Las Ramblas, will not be. Plus the City of Barcelona is organizing many events that will please young and old people alike (like the decorating of Easter eggs or discovering zoology in the zoo of Parc de la Ciutadella).
2) You can stuff yourself with typical Barcelona Easter food, especially the Mona de Pascua, so sweet and soft and up-lifting after this 40-day long Lent (well… if you’re Christian and practicing your religion that is).
3) The weather is so nice you can’t resist going on day trips or out on the streets to…
4) … fully take advantage of the Barcelona processions!
Barcelona 15+1 Processions
Barcelona processions really are fascinating. Their roots run deep down back until the Middle-Ages. Some of the Barcelona processions have been going on since the 15th Century but some others, and quite surprisingly the most famous ones, were founded just 30 years ago.
The latter are organized by the Cofradia Laica 15+1 de l’Hospitalet (or Laic Brotherhood 15+1). What makes the 15+1 so particular is that their group organizes Catholic processions but does not depend on any Church and begin all their Barcelona processions from non-religious points (streets and places, but no church). It all began in a bar in 1978 where 15 Andalusians heard a Saeta on TV, or devotional song sung during Semana Santa in Andalusia, which has the most beautiful and crowded processions. The 15 friends became nostalgic, grabbed a table, put a Holy Image on it and began walking down the streets of l’Hospitalet, a Barcelona barrio. They ended up being followed by a crowd: 15 friends plus the people.
La Cofradia Laica 15+1 now organizes 6 Barcelona processions or “pasos” for Semana Santa. In each Barcelona procession more than 400 of La Cofredia’s 1000 members, all divided in 4 groups (the Roman Century, the Nazarenes, the Cornet and Drum Band and the Bearers of Holy Images) parade through the streets.
Barcelona processions are the following:
1) On Domingo de Ramos, aka Palm Sunday, the Paso de la Borriquita takes place, the first Barcelona Easter procession, at 11am on March 28th this year, followed by the Paso de Jesus Cautivo at 6.30pm, a happy celebration in which people throw flowers and rejoice as the Bearers pass. The Paso de la Borriquita gatheres more than 529 Nazarenes this Easter and more than 100 school boys, very proud to carry the Holy Statue.
2) Do not miss Barcelona processions on Good Friday! See you at Plaça de la Bóbila (Metro L5 “Can Vidalet”), on April 2nd this year at 8.30 am for the Paso de Jesus Nazareno y Nuestra Señora de los Dolores (Our Lady of Sorrows), aka procession of the Virgin of pain.
3) If you cannot make it that early (which would be understandable considering how good Barcelona nightlife is), come to Paso del Cristo de la Expiación (The Atonement of Christ) at 9pm, Calle del Moli to see the impressive 2,000 kg statues pass by…
4) If you missed this one too, don’t panick: there’s one Barcelona procession more on Saturday, April 3rd, 2010, aka Sabado Santo, at 8pm. The Holy Tomb and Our Lady of Solitude procession is also going to start from Plaza de la Bobila and following this itinerary: avenida del Bosque, plaza de la Alzina, calle Belchite, calle de Floridablanca, calle de Gravina, calle Toledo, calle Churruca, avenida Severo Ochoa y plaza de la Bobila.
5) Last but not least, you can also check the ultimate one, on Sunday April 4th, 2010, aka Resurrection Sunday to honor the Resurrection of Jesus and Our Lady of Remedies, or just check out the Statues as fine pieces of art. Meet them at 6pm, on Plaza de la Bóbila too.
So get out there and rejoice with true Catalans during one of the most deeply anchored traditions in Spain!