Dating traditions spain
There is a real festival atmosphere in the city during Holy Week, much livelier than some of the more sombre celebrations in Spain's northern towns and cities. Celebrations in the central region of Castille La Mancha are famous for their more sombre and, some would say, authentic Semana Santa parades.
Zamora (pictured above) lays claim to the oldest Semana Santa celebrations in Spain, which date back to 1179.
Although strikingly similar, they have nothing to do with the hoods worn by the Ku Klux Klan.
Women often wear the mantilla, a black lace veil worn high on the back of the head.
The city, close to the Portuguese border, sees its population increase five times during Holy Week, as up to 300,000 people flock to watch the ancient traditions.
Salamanca also holds Holy Week fests that date back hundreds of years, with the earliest penance processions recorded as far back as 1240.
Spaniards will tell you “it always rains in Semana Santa" and this year they will most likely be right as stormy weather brings a drop in temperatures and frequent showers across much of the peninsula.
Seville holds some of the biggest Holy Week processions including La Madruga (dawn), a series of processions that take place during the night of Maundy Thursday and into the morning of Good Friday, a highlight of Semana Santa for many spectators.
People taking part in Semana Santa processions dress in traditional capirote - the tall conical hat which also covers their faces, as well as in belted robes.
Capirotes used to be reserved for people doing penance: as a sign of atoning their sins, they would walk through the town wearing the hat, their faces covered so they could not be recognized as sinners.
But that’s not to say Spaniards don’t have special sweet treats for Holy Week.
Torrijas are a traditional Semana Santa sweet snack of bread soaked in milk and egg before being fried and served with sugar or honey, and are available all over the country during Holy Week.
The floats are festooned with flowers and candles and are the focal point of the procession.