Things to do in Barcelona Easter 2013. What to do and where to find Easter parades and Good Friday processions? Easter week in Spain is called “Semana Santa” which means "Holy Week." The Easter week starts on Palm Sunday and is called "Diumenge de Rams" in Catalan" and "Domingo de Ramos" in Spanish. Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter week. In 2013 Palm Sunday is on Sunday 24th March 2013. There are parades and processions in Barcelona both on Palm Sunday and Good Friday - called "Divendres Sant" in Catalan and "Viernes Santo" in Spanish. Good Friday in 2013 is on Friday 29th April 2012. Easter Sunday is 31st March 2013 and Easter 2013 ends on "Lunes de Pascua" Easter Monday on Monday 1st April 2013 and is also called "Diá de la mona de Pascua" - Easter "mona" cake day.
What to do at Easter in Barcelona? Barcelona is a popular destination at Easter, which can mean longer lines at Barcelona's top attractions. You can save time by pre-booking tours and discounts cards online in our Barcelona tours shop. For families with children spending Easter in Barcelona popular attractions are the Barcelona Zoo in the centre of town. Another popular destinaton is the Tibidabo amusement park on Tibidabo hill - and the Barcelona Aquarium. Most Barcelona attractions have have special Easter programmes with plenty of activities for children and families. Find more things to do for families with children in Barcelona on our page Barcelona attractions for children and on our Barcelona museums page.
Shopping in Barcelona at Easter Will the shops be open during Easter in Barcelona? No - not on the public holidays of Good Friday and Easter Monday. Most shops close for Easter in Barcelona. In the city centre many small tourist souvenir shops are open and some small boutique clothing shops will be open too, but the big shopping centres and high-street brand shops are closed. Restaurants and bars are open during Easter. >More about shopping in Barcelona
Easter festivals in Barcelona Barcelona is a modern, cosmopolitan city and it has to be said, that Barcelona Easter celebrations are not of the magnitude and splendour of some other Spanish cities in the south of Spain, like Sevilla. Many local Barcelona residents leave the city for the Easter break by car. This mass exodus is called “Operacion Salida” which means "operation exit." The Easter "operation exit" is one of the biggest of the year in Spain and Barcelona and more than half a million cars usually leave Barcelona for the Semana Santa break.
But you can find a couple of traditional Easter processions in the centre of Barceona on Palm Sunday and Good Friday - and some processions in the suburbs of Barcelona. There are Easter festivals and procession in towns and village near Barcelona. We can recommend Easter festiviteis in Girona or Tarragona which are both 1 hour from Barcelona.
Easter processions in Spain are organised by the "Hermandades y Cofradías de Penitencia" which are religious brotherhoods of lay people, both male and female. They have the blessing of the church to organise processions. The Pentitencia brotherhoods only parade at Easter, whereas the "Hermandades de gloria" parade at other times of the year, but not Easter. In Barcelona city centre there are two "Hermandades de Penitencia" who organise Easter processions. One is the "Nuestra Señora de las Angustias" from the church "Iglesia de Sant Jaume" - and the other is "la Hermandad de la Macarena y la de Jesús del Gran Poder" from the Iglesia de San Agustín.
The Easter processions are called an "estación de penitencia." The procession starts from their home parish church and goes to the Barcelona cathedral and back. Sometimes the processions are also called "pasos" because the beautifully decorated and adorned Easter floats themselves are also called "pasos" and a "Hermandad de Penitencia" can organise various processions, but with different paso floats.
The paso floats havelarge wooden effigies of Christ either carrying the cross or on the cross. The sculptures can also be the Virgin Mary, or other saints or biblical figures or scenes. The Pasos are carried by 30-50 porters called "costaleros," who carry the paso like a litter. The floats are very heavy and so breaks have to be taken after a few minutes. The leader of the bearers are the "capataz" who determine the "chicotá," which is the pause between a paso being lifted and set down again. The floats are carried along the procession route to the cathedral for the station of penitance at the Cathedral and then they return to their parish church.
The signal to lift or set down the paso is given by the "llamador" (crier) who knocks on the front of the float.There are various robes for brotherhood members. The "nazareños" wear penitential robes called a "nazareño" which have very tall pointed hats called “capirotes." "Nazareños"often carry candles called "cirios." The "costaleros" don't wear the pointy “capirotes,” but often are often fully masked. The penitents carry crosses and wear robes with hoods too, but not the pointed hoods.
Palm Sunday - Domingo de Ramos Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter Sunday and signals the start of Semana Santa Easter Week. Palm Sunday is called "Domingo de Ramos" in Spanish and "Diumenge de Rams" in Catalan. In Barcelona there is a Palm Sunday procession which is called "La Borriquita" (little donkey) organised by the Parish of San Agustín (see maps, dates and times below.) All churches in Barcelona have Palm Sunday masses, which usually include a "Bendición de la Palma" palm blessing ceremony, which is when the parish priests go outside the church to bless the congregation, who carry laurel branches - "ramos de laurel" and palm stalks and leaves - "palmónes y palmas." The boys carry the "palmónes" which are the tall palm stalks - and the girls carry the "palmas," which are smaller and shorter stems with intricately woven crosses. All of the childrens' palm leaves have small bags of sweets or toys on the palms tied to them, and are often decorated with Catalan senyera ribbons. If you visit the Feria de Ramos markets in Barcelona outside Barcelona Cathedral, or on la Rambla de Catalunya or by the Sagrada Familia, where palmónes and palmas are sold on the days leading up to Palm Sunday, you can find many different sizes and variations on display. One of the traditions of Easter in Spain is that the Godmother of the children is responsible for making or getting the palm leaves for her Godchildren. In the old days this probably meant weaving them by hand, but nowadays most Godmothers buy them at the Feria de Ramos or at the supermarket. Another tradition for the children on Palm Sunday is that children should be wearing a new item of clothing. The saying goes "Domingo de Ramos - al que no estrena se le caen las manos!!" which means "Palm Sunday - if you don't wear something new you hands will drop off!" There are four Palm Sunday markets in Barcelona called "Fira de Rams." You can find them in front of Barcelona La Seu Cathedral - on the street Rambla de Catalunya - at the famous Sagrada Familia church and in Sants area of Barcelona on Plaça Bonet i Muixi.
Palm Sunday procession & blessings
2013 Domingo de Ramos - Palm Sunday procession 24/3 Paso: La Borriquita (little donkey) Jesús enters Jerusalem in triumph on a donkey Parroquia de San Agustín Start: 10.00 Iglesia de San Agustín Plaça Sant Agustí, 2, Raval Finish: 12:00 same place Procession Route: Plaça Sant Agustí, Hospital, La Rambla, Santa Ana, Portal del Ángel, Cucurulla, Portaferrisa, La Rambla, Hospital y Plaza San Agustín.
Palm blessing ceremonies "Bendición de la Palma" 11:00 Barcelona cathedral La Seu - outside the cathedral doors on Av del catedral
Good Friday processions Barcelona The first Good Friday parade in Barcelona starts In the Raval area at the church “La Iglesia de Sant Agustí” on Plaça Sant Agustí It starts at 17.00 hours with a very nice procession with two "paso" floats and around 300 participants and musicians. At 19.00 at the church “Iglesia de Sant Jaume” on Carrer de Ferran in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona another Good Friday Easter procession starts at 19.00 hours. To celebrate mass visit to the gothic Santa Maria del Mar church or the Barcelona Cathedral or the famous Sagrada Familia. For Palm Sunday decorations visit "Feria de Ramos" on the street Rambla de Catalunya
Viernes Santo processions in Barcelona
2013 Good Friday - Iglesia de San Agustín Processions by Hermandad del Gran Poder y la Esperanza Macarena Paso Cristo: Nuestro. Padre Jesús del Gran Poder Paso de Palio: María Santísima de la Esperanza Macarena Start: 17.00 Iglesia de San Agustín, Plaça Sant Agustí, 2, Raval At 20:00 both processions meet in front of Barcelona cathedral with the procession of Nuestra Señora de las Angustias Finish: around 22.30 same place Procession Route: Plaça Sant Agustí, La Rambla, Santa Ana, Portal del Ángel, Arcs, Plaza Nova, Avenida Catedral, Boters, Pi, Plaza del Pi, Cardenal Casañas, Boqueria, Hospital and Plaça Sant Agustí
2013 Good Friday - Iglesia de Sant Jaume Procession by Hermanidad y Cofradía de Nuestra Señora de las Angustias Paso: Nuestra Señora de las Angustias - Our Lady of Sorrows Start: 19:00 Iglesia de Sant Jaume in Gothic area on Carrer de Ferran 28 At 20:00 they meet in front of Barcelona cathedral with the procession of la Hermandad de la Macarena Finish: 23:00 at Iglesia de Sant Jaume Procession Route: Iglesia de Sant Jaume, Ferrán, Plaza San Jaime, Bisbe, Avenida de la Catedral, Boters, Portaferrissa, Ramblas and Ferrán, Iglesia de Sant Jaume
2013 Good Friday - Santa Maria del Mar Procession at Santa Maria del Mar basilica Start: 09:30 Via Crucis procession Procession of Stations of the Cross. Procession route: Santa Maria del Mar, Fossar de les moreres, Pg del Born, Carrer del Rec, Carrer Bonaire, Carrer Rere palau, Marques argentera, Pla de Palau, carrer Espaseria and finish as Santa Maria del Mar
2013 Good Friday - Barcelona Cathedral Service and procession at Barcelona Cathedral Start: 15:00 Sermó de les Set Paraules. The Bearers of the Holy Christ of Lepanto bring the Holy Christ to the front of the Cathedral to be adored by the faithful at 15:00 on Good Friday. A Canon reads the Sermon of the Seven Words, discussing the last seven words said by Jesus before his death Start: 18:30 Via Crucis procession on Avinguda de la Catedral Procession of Stations of the Cross on the Avinguda de la Catedral Procession route: On Avinguda de la Catedral
Cofradia 15+1 Easter processions in Hospitalet area of Barcelona The biggest Easter processions in Barcelona are in the suburb of Barcelona called Hospitalet de Llobregat, which is easily reached by metro on blue L5. It was here in Hospitalet in 1977 that a band of homesick Andalusians were watching the Easter processions in Sevilla on TV. They missed the wonderful processions of southern Spain so much, that they decided to start their own processions in Barcelona. The "Asociación Cultural Andaluza Cofradía 15 +" - the brotherhood Cofradía 15+1 was formed. The number 15 was the number of original organisers and the number 1 was added later to symbolise the town of Hospitalet. This is the only cofradia brotherhood in Spain that organises all six Easter "paso" processions that mark the death and resurrection.of Christ. What also makes the Cofradia 15+1 unique is that their Easter processions are completely secular and have no church involvement at all. Around one million people usually follow the six Cofradia Easter processions.
2013 Sunday 24/3 - Domingo de Ramos - Palm Sunday 11:00 Paso Cristo - La Borriquita (little donkey) 18:30 Paso de Jusús Cautivo Starts:Placa de la Bobila 2013 Friday 29/3 - Viernes Santo - Good Friday. 08.30 Paso de Jesús Nazareno 08:30 Nuestra Señora de los Dolores (Our Lady of Sorrows) 21:00 Paso del Cristo de la Expiación(The Atonement of Christ) Starts:Carrer del Moli
2013 Saturday 30/3 - Sabado Santo - Easter Saturday 20:00 Paso del Santo Sepulcro (The Holy Tomb) 20:00 Nuestra Señora de la Soledad (Our Lady of Solitude) Starts:Placa de la Bobila
2013 Sunday 31/3 - Domingo de Resurrección - Resurrection Sunday (Easter Day) 18:00 Paso Jesús Resucitado (Resurrection of Jesus) 18:00 Nuestra Señora de los Remedios (Our Lady of Remedies) Start:Placa de la Bobila
Easter Monday is also "Día de la mona de Pascua." In Catalonia making the Easter cake called "Mona de Pascua" is an important culinary Easter tradition. The cakes are called "monas" in Spanish and "mones" in Catalan. Around 550,000 mona cakes are sold in Barcelona at Easter. Pastry shops and chocolate shops also make chocolate "monas," which you can see on display in their windows. The origins of the word “mona” are not clear, but it is thought that the word "mona" comes from Morocco, where “mona” means “gift." It might be from the latin word “muna” which has the same meaning. “Mona” also means monkey in Catalan, so monkeys are sometimes used as mona cake shapes. During Lent, the period of 40 days before Easter during which devout Catholics were not allowed to eat meat and eggs, they saved the eggs until Easter and then used them to make cakes. The mona tradition dates back to the 15th century and part of the tradtion is that this is a gift that a Godfather (or Godmother) bakes for their God-children on Easter Monday.
A traditional "mona" shape is a round cake similar to a big donut. The Mona recipe was originally marzipan and hard boiled eggs as the main ingredients. The number of eggs is supposed to be the age of the Godchild, but no less than 2 and no more than 12. Nowadays a “mona” can have many shapes and themes and can also be made of chocolate. Chocolatiers and bakers all over Catalonia compete to make the biggest and most spectacular “Mona de Pascua” creations and the best ones are even featured on TV. In 2011 there were many Barça-themed monas to cheer FC Barcelona to victory. In 2012 the Mona de Pascua was a fantastic green dragon head inspired by the Chinese year of the Dragon. Visit one of Barcelona's most famous bakeries called Escribà pasteleria to see an Easter Mona creation in the window. Escriba has two locations on Las Ramblas and their original shop with a big Easter mona on display on Gran Via 546. Another top Barcelona pastry shop is Hofmann Pasteleria in the Born area of the old city, where you can also find Monas de Pascua at the Museu de la Xocolata- the Barcelona Chocolate museum. Or make one yourself. Here is a typical Easter mona cake recipe.
Easter celebrations near Barcelona Easter processions in Catalonia can be found in many smaller towns that are 1-2 hours by car or train ride from Barcelona. Here are some suggestions for you. To find trains to the towns and villages mentioned below, visit the Renfe cercanies website
Easter in Mataro Matatro is 30 minutes north of Barcelona on the Maresme coast. Mataro organises impressive Good Friday processions, especially at “Basílica de Santa María” usually at 21:30
Easter in Girona Girona has an impressive Good Friday Easter procession at 22.00 from the gates of Girona Cathedral.
Easter in Tarragona- - > Google map Tarragona is 1 hour south of Barcelona. Tarragona has many Easter traditions including the "Armats" of Tarragona, which are legions of Roman soldiers who march on Good Friday in preparation for the Holy Burial procession usually around 20.15. This custom dates back to the year 1550. This is inspired by Tarragona's Roman origins as an Imperial city. Tarragona still has impressive Roman ruins including a Roman amphitheatre by the sea and Roman circus. > Website Tarragona Semana Santa
La Danza de la Muerte de Verges La Procesión de Verges. Dance of Death" - "La Dansa de la mort" in Catalan langauge and "La Danza de la Muerte de Verges" in Spanish language. Verges is a village near the Costa Brava in Catalonia, where they celebrate an ancient and unique dance of death every year in the evening of Easter Thursday - Maundy Thursday during Easter week. The procession is to the beat of drums and participents carry scythes, ashes and clocks. Participants perform a spooky dance in skeleton costumes or robes to symbolise the final judgement after death when it is decided if the soul goes to heaven, to purgatory, or to hell. One of the more strange Easter traditions! It is very popular to watch and the thousands of spectators pay an admission fee to watch the procession which is in the medieval village and on the walls and towers.