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How To Best Enjoy Semana Santa And Other Feasts

A visit to a village feast on a Saturday night where children still play out in the street way past midnight is a common sight in southern Spain. And Spanish are known to celebrate. In southern Spain in particular, as long as the sun shines, diners pack the terraces. Even when the financial crisis of 2010 hit hard the Spanish economy, terraces continued to be packed. And among the grandest publich holidays in Andalucia, Semana Santa comes first.
To say that Semana Santa is the most important feast or holiday in Andalucia is not saying much. The celebrations, processions, crowds, preparations, the effort and funds that are being disbursed may seem to an untrained eye, well, preposterous. Let’s take just one example: one person  carrying the adorned statue of Mary, training for months, heaving along dozens of his colleagues, hundreds of kilograms on their shoulders, camouflaged under the veil, and all that for what ? For there is no material reward involved. That feeling that one belongs to a community, that this makes sense on a spiritual level. The processions take days, sometimes weeks to unfold, time during which the traffic whether in Granada, Malaga, Seville, Cordoba or any other major town turns chaotic. There is no other holiday in Spain ( Christmas doesn’t even come close) that is celebrated more widely. The other feasts may be constricted to a region: Fiesta de Moros Y Cristianos that commemorate the battles and fights between the Moors and the Christians while Spain was under Muslim rule only spans the communities of Granada, Jaen and Almeria, with a few exceptions. The Carnival ( February) is celebrated widely in occidental Andalucia, think Cadiz and Jerez and much less in the province of Almeria. Villages celebrate feasts and holidays several times a year, mostly in summer, but not only. Guejar Sierra celebrates La Matanza in September but also Las Cerezas ( in July/ August). Add to this that each village has its own village feast every year at the same date and that is a great time to be there to enjoy local music, food, crafts and late, very late nights.

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