Holy Week in Catalonia

descubre tradiciones Semana Santa catalana Procesiones religiosas Cataluña
guia eventos Semana Santa Cataluña procesiones multitudinarias
Procession in Verges. Photo: Laia Balagueró
The annual Christian celebration of Holy Week, one of the most authentic festivities and with the most tradition, has its own characteristics in Catalonia. The dates vary every year, sometimes at the end of March and other times in the month of April. From before Palm Sunday to Holy Saturday, in many Catalan towns they happen more than a hundred popular religious manifestations, like the processions, via crucis, parades and representations of the Passion.

The acts of Holy Week are opened the previous Friday with the solemn historical procession in honor of the Our Lady of Sorrows (Verge dels Dolors, in Catalan) that go across the streets of the town of Bellpuig (Lleida) and from several places from the province of Girona such as Banyoles, Mieres, Amer and Besalú.

Palm Sunday

The day that commemorates the entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem it is the date stipulated for the traditional craft fairs and Palm markets, where you can find palms, laurel and various types of ornamentations. This day takes place in Barcelona the exciting procession of "La Burreta", that leaves from the church of Sant Agustí, in the Raval neighborhood, and traverse the streets of the Old City.

Maundy Thursday

On the night of Holy Thursday, the streets and squares illuminated with candles they welcome the silent processions as a sign of pain for the crucifixion and death of Jesus. Stands out the processions of the Silence in Badalona, Reus and Lleida. In Verges (Girona) takes place the impressive Dance of Death (Dansa de la Mort), the only macabre tradition that has survived since the Middle Ages in Europe, in which ten skeletons go through the alleyways of the village to the sound of a kettledrum.

Good Friday

The popular Procession of Holy Burial (Processó del Sant Enterrament) of Tarragona, in which more than 4000 people participate, is the only one considered as a festivity of national interest by the Generalitat of Catalonia. Characterized by its solemnity, the parade runs through the old part of the city. They also deserve attention the emotional alive Viacrucis (Via Crucis Vivent)of Sant Hilari Sacalm and the processions of Girona, Barcelona and Reus.
A separate case constitutes the secular procession organized by the Brotherhood 15+1 of L´Hospitalet de Llobregat, the most crowded in Catalonia.

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the 2021 Holy Week processions have been suspended.