One of the most notable things about Spanish culture is its religion. In order to understand the Spanish culture you need to understand their Catholic environment. So, due to perfect timing, I have chosen Holy Week, or Semana Santa as it´s known in Spain, as the starting point for my Spanish Culture section.
Holy Week in Spain is undeniably a unique event. Being Catholic myself I have celebrated Holy Week before. However, it is safe to say, I have never experienced such a genuine atmosphere of mourning like the one I have witness here. While I´ll admit it truly is a breathtakingly beautiful experience filled with emotion, there were times when I became overwhelmed by the dramatics of the situation, and felt a little uncomfortable.
In the procession I witnessed the marchers, clad out in white robes with blue capes and pointed blue hoods somewhat reminiscent of the Klu Klux Klan, carry elaborate sliver candlesticks. These marchers were closely followed by elegant female mourners dressed in black with the most delicate lace veils running from their heads to the ground.
Behind these women was the wooden platform, or anda as it´s know in Spanish, which was carried by 36 men, known as carriers or cucuruchos, from a religious fraternity. On this magnificently ornate platform there was an amazing statue of Magdalena surrounded by flowers and candles. It was astonishing to see the skill, coordination and technique it took to negotiate this platform around sharp turns on narrow little streets. It really was a mesmerizing sight to see.
The procession was such a huge credit to the community and was carried out with solemnity and grace. To me it really got to the heart of Spanish culture and depicted their passion, their strength, their commitment to religion and their pride in a uniquely artistic way. While I may never fully understand the mourning period, I will always admire and respect it and feel grateful to be an onlooker to such an exceptional event.
What is your opinion on Holy Week in Spain?