Travelling in Spain and Barcelona during Easter is an excellent opportunity to discover the country and the city with a different aspect. The scenery starts changing with the arrival of spring and families gather with their relatives to perpetuate this ancient Christian tradition which celebrates the Christ’s passion, death and resurrection. This article will offer you various tips to make the most of the Holy Week and Easter celebrations in Barcelona.
Holy Week and Easter celebrations in Barcelona
First of all, it is important to know that Bank holidays are different in Barcelona and Catalonia from the rest of Spain. With this in mind, you could prepare your programme and your accommodation and transport booking according to this. For instance, Easter Monday is a day off whereas Maundy Thursday (the day of the Last Supper) isn’t. Easter Saturday (day of the Mourning) and Easter Sunday (day of the Resurrection) follow as the same.
Also, Barcelona is a popular destination for visitors during this period. Therefore, try to organise your itinerary well in order to avoid interminable queues.
School are closed during the Easter period so it is possible to find activities for children in various places like Barcelona zoo, the Aquarium or Tibidabo Amusement Park.
On the Sunday prior to the start of Semana Santa (Holy Week) on Palm Sunday, bring some palm stalks (“palmons”) and leaves (“palmas”), olive or bay leaf branches to a church. The Blessing of the Palm ceremony occurs outside churches where the priests bless them. You could attend it from 11.00 AM at Barcelona Cathedral in the Gothic Quarter or the Sagrada Familia from 12.00 AM (see map further below).
Palmons are given to boys and palmas to girls. All children carrying palms usually have a small bags tied to them and contain sweets or toys. The bags are often decorated with a Catalan senyera ribbon. The children are dressed in their most elegant outfit for this occasion.
Visit the Fira de Rams by the Barcelona Cathedral, the Sagrada Familia and Rambla de Catalunya to buy palms or other Easter items.
Palms are later hung on balconies and will bring good luck to your family and dwelling. This day symbolises the entrance of Jesus in Jerusalem and the “Burreta” procession is also held on that day. This name comes from the fact that Jesus entered Jerusalem riding a donkey. It starts at 10.00 AM from Església Sant Agustí (see map for route) in El Raval district.
If you want to experience a solemn yet emotional event, attend one of the various street processions organised by “Hermandades y Cofradias“. Hundreds of hooded participants parade with sacred figures that represent moment in the life of Jesus through the streets of the city. They occur on Good Friday (the day of the Crucifixion) (19/04).
Three main processions take place on Good Friday: one at 3.00 PM from Barcelona Cathedral, another one from 5.00 from the Church of Sant Agustí and the last one at 7.00 PM from the Church of Sant Jaume. A morning also occurs at 9.30 from Santa Maria del Mar (see map for the different routes).
5.00 PM procession:
- Start from Església de Sant Agustí in Plaça Sant Agustí, 2, Raval
- 8.00 PM: Meet with the 7.00 PM procession in front of Barcelona Cathedral
- Finish at around 22.30 Església de Sant Agustí
- Route: Plaça Sant Agustí, La Rambla, Carrer Santa Anna, Portal de l’Ángel, Carrer dels Arcs, Plaça Nova, Avinguda Catedral, Boters, Pi, Plaça del Pi, Carrer Cardenal Casañas, La Rambla, Carrer Hospital and Plaça Sant Agustí
7.00 PM procession:
- Start from Església de Sant Jaume at Carrer de Ferran, 28, Barri Gòtic
- 8.00 PM: Meet with the 5.00 PM procession in front of Barcelona Cathedral
- Finish at 23:00 at Església de Sant Jaume
- Route: Església de Sant Jaume, Carrer Ferrán, Plaça Sant Jaume, Carrer Bisbe, Avinguda de la Catedral, Boters, Portaferrissa, La Rambla and Ferrán, Església de Sant Jaume
To attend mass services, you can go to Santa Maria del Mar church, Barcelona Cathedral or the Sagrada Familia.
Silent procession in Badalona
This old tradition dating back from the XVII is a very emotional procession. The figure of the Christ is carried along the street of the old town of Badalona in complete silent. The dim light of the candles on the balconies and windows and lights around the figure emphasize the solemn atmosphere. The procession starts at 9.00 pm from Parròquia de Santa Maria (see map below) on Maundy Thursday.
Semana Santa and Easter are a great opportunity for people in Spain and in Barcelona to gather and savour ever-lasting meals. One of the most typical specialities is the “Mona de Pascua”. Its origins and meaning are not certain but it most certainly comes from pagan traditions adopted by Christians.
Godparents usally offer the Mona on Easter Sunday to their godchildren and by grandparents to
their grandchildren. The original version is a sweet brioche cake with hard-boiled eggs that symbolise rebirth and fertility. The tradition is that it contains as many eggs as the child’s age who receives it with a maximum of twelve (age of the first communion). The eggs now also appear in the form of a chocolate egg. The most popular version now is a chocolate cake in the shape of various figures such as the traditional egg, animals or cartoon characters.
Also, producing monas is a proper culinary art. Indeed, chocolatiers all over Catalonia let their imagination elaborate the craziest creations and the best one are shown on TV.
You can find monas in every cake shops around Barcelona and Catalonia. Additionally, go to the Museu de la Xocolata in El Born on Sunday to see what they look like.
Where to stay
It’s usually better to stay close to this kind of events. That’s why we offer various comfortable, stylish and centrally located apartments for you to make the most of your experience in Barcelona. Find more information by clicking here.