Semana Santa (Holy Week) in Spain

Old Aug 22nd, 1999, 08:07 AM
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Semana Santa (Holy Week) in Spain

We are planning a trip to Spain that would include time spent during Holy Week and are interested in any ideas, suggestions and ways to educate ourselves on the customs. We will be with friends in Cuenca for probably 3 or 4 days (Maundy Thursday through Easter). This will be part of a larger (approx. 2 week) trip that will focus on the Castilla-La Manch region (we have "done" Madrid and Andalucia) and would be interested in any hotel, restaurant, special sights that anyone has. We love the Spanish parador system, exploring the back roads, small towns, hiking through scenic countryside and finding local color of all varieties. Thank-you in advance for helping! Maria
Old Aug 22nd, 1999, 03:06 PM
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Maria, the most fascinating thing about the region you are about to visit is how it has been inmortalized in literature (Don Quijote and El Cid, just to name two). Once you visit the region is understandable where the inspiration came from. Try to spend some time in Consuegra. They have this old castle in top of a hill surrounded by windmills; amazing pictures!!!! (...and they do look like giants.)If you can't get to Consuegra, Mota del Cuervo, closer to Cuenca, has some restored windmills also. I haven't been to Cordova, but some people on this forum found it worth an overnight. Also there are Roman ruins in Segobriga (amphitheatre and thermal baths) can be done in a half-day. Very close (about 30 mts) is Ucles where they have this really old monastery (12th century; Knights of St. James).

To spend Holy week in Spain should be a unique experience. Be aware that there may be some sights closed in observance of the Holy days.
Old Aug 23rd, 1999, 07:25 AM
Brian in Atlanta
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What dates will Holy Week occur in 2000? I am assuming that this is the week between Palm Sunday and Easter.
Old Aug 23rd, 1999, 07:59 AM
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Palm Sunday: 16 April, 2000
Holy Week: 17-22 April, 2000
Easter Sunday: 23 April, 2000
Old Aug 23rd, 1999, 09:08 AM
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Hi, Maria.
During Holy Week a Religious Classical Music Week is held in Cuenca. I´m sure your friends can tell you more about it, but it is well-known and interesting if you are into it.
Bear into mind that many people travel around during Holy Week and Easter in Spain (in some of the regions it´s more important Holy Week, in others Easter), so it would be wise to book ahead if you have an idea where to go. The worst places will be the beaches in the Mediterranean and the ski resorts (if we are lucky and get a good snow year), but more and more people are travelling in Castilla.
Holy Week is different in Castilla from the andalousian one. It is not so noisy and spectacular, more serious, and in some places you can see beautiful statues (Semana Santa in Valladolid, for example).
Shops will be closed on Good Friday, but otherwise Holy Week in Spain is not so dry and impressive as the one in protestant Germany. Cinemas, bars, restaurants, many of the sights are open. Just check in advance, if you want to be sure.
The processions are becoming more and more popular among young people. I don´t know if there are any religious reasons, I think most of the time is because of the fun of wearing a "capuchón" (similar to the KKK ones, but in black or purple or sky blue...).
Good luck with your planning.
Old Aug 23rd, 1999, 01:16 PM
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We found ourselves in Spain during Holy Week five years ago, and I can still close my eyes and hear the drumbeats and music that accompanied the processions that wended their way through town. We were in Cordova, Seville, and Granada, and found that most churches have at least one procession during the week. The first section is made up of the men in outfits that resemble Klan headdresses ; next come women, old and young in heels with rosaries and mantillas; the band is next, playing a haunting tune, and finally the float carried by men underneath marching in unison and somehow navigating those very narrow streets. I bought the music, and play it often at home; bought a video, but haven't been able to find a machine that can play it. Just be prepared for long nights, since the processions go on all night long.

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