Semana Santa, or “Holy Week,” refers to the time leading up to Easter. The festivities are well-known throughout Spain, as many towns have their own particular traditions. It is typical to see masked groups carrying very heavy, float-like platforms on their shoulders. The floats are decorated with Easter-related images such as Jesus on the cross. Every brotherhood sisterhood wears different colored masks to disguise themselves and therefore make themselves equal. Some of the participants even go barefoot to be even more reverent. A marching band often accompanies the parade, which adds to the atmosphere. It was mind-boggling (and slightly eerie) to see these solemn groups carrying huge floats down the streets.
This past Saturday I was lucky enough to run into a religious procesión in León. The parades there are famous for being very solemn, and indeed it was. (Curiously, the town also holds a rollicking parade in honor of Genarin, a drunkard who holds the distinction of being run over by the city’s first garbage truck.)
While religious parades are common, each Spanish town has a specific way of celebrating Easter. In Sagunt, I got a sneak peak of the Semana Santa paraphernalia, which was on display in the city’s cathedral: