Spanish Festivals

There are many Spanish Festivals, religious and regional. Here are a few interesting ones.

Mexico - Day of the Dead - Día de los Muertos

Dating back to Aztec times, this ritual is now celebrated on Nov. 2. It is a day to remember those who have passed on. It is not the Mexican Halloween, which is a common misconception. Families visit graves and decorate or clean them. In the home, an altar to the deceased is made including pictures, favorite things, votives and favorite foods – ofrendas. Pan de muerto (bread of the dead) is traditionally made. Day of the Dead skulls , calacas, made out of sugar are also made. They are elaborately decorated.



Peru - Corpus Christi

There are over 3000 festivals in Peru. Many are regional and combine Christianity with Andean religions. One of the biggest is Corpus Christi. Although it is a nationalHoliday, it is most significant in the city of Cusco. It dates back to the 13th century when an Augustinian nun , Juliana started a feast to honor the Lords Supper and to focus on the belief that the Eucharist bread contains the body of Christ.In Cusco the celebration lasts a week with spectacular processions around the Plaza de Armas . Thousands participate and watch the costumed dancers and musicians.Fifteen virgins and saints are part of the “entrada”, the entrance. The “ carroza” , a silver carriage with a chalice carries bread, the symbolic Body of Christ. The processions culminate at the Cathedral of Cusco. The largest church bell in Peru, the Maria Angola rings throughout the day. Traditional dishes are prepared for the festive feast. Corpus Christi is celebrated in many other catholic countries. Day of the Dead is celebrated in other countries, including Guatemala and Spain.



Spain - Santa Semana

Santa Semana, holy week, is celebrated all over Spain. The celebrations differ widely by region. Large and lengthy processions in the streets are customary, culminating on Easter Sunday or Domingo de la Resurrección. In many of the processions, a special robe is worn with with a conical hood (capirote), which covers the face. Such robes date back to medieval times and were worn by penitents. Floats (tronos) can be part of the procession. Some of the processions can last as long as nine hours. In Málaga, processions begin on Palm Sunday and continue to Easter, with very exciting and solemn processions on Holy Thursday and Good Friday. Some of the most elaborate processions take place in Sevilla, which are arguably the most famous and spectacular in the world. Hotels are booked months in advance. Over 50 church brotherhoods, some dating back the 13tth century participate.



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