Ideas for an authentic Barcelona Easter holiday
Unfortunately, the Barcelona Easter Week isn’t one of the liveliest in Spain. While areas such as Andalusia are famous for their passionate and breath-taking traditions, in Barcelona you need to know where to go to get a feel of the local Easter celebrations.
This is why today we are sharing with you our favorite events for each day. Beware: the Barcelona Easter timetables and itineraries might vary from year to year. It is recommended to double check them beforehand to make sure you don’t miss them. Your hotel concierge can help you consulting each organizers’ website, and most churches post a notice with their events of Easter Week in the notice board by their door some days before.
This are our favorite events in Barcelona at Easter:
Palm Sunday. A few days before Palm Sunday, godmothers take their godchildren to the Palm Markets along Rambla de Catalunya and outside the Sagrada Familia church (Marina and Mallorca streets). Boys will get a “palmó” (long white palm leave), while girls are more likely to prefer a “palma” (shorter but more elaborated palm leave with intricate lace work). They’ll decorate them with paper laces and some candy (that kids won’t be allowed to eat until Palm Sunday mass is over). If you want to join one of this family-friendly services, head to Santa Maria del Mar church, where is usually celebrated a multilingual mass at noon. The Cathedral is another good option (but not Sagrada Familia, where mass is still by invitation only). There is also a very popular procession departing from St. Agustí church near la Rambla.
Holy Thursday. Hop on the Rodalies suburban train to nearby Badalona to join the Procession of Silence. Documented from the 1600’s, it evolves around the alleys of the old town of Badalona in complete silence and illuminated just by candles lit by the neighbors. The last train back to Barcelona departs after 11.30PM, what should give you enough time to enjoy it, as long as you arrive early and get a good spot by the Santa Maria Church.
Good Friday. It’s a day off: shops and banks will be closed, but tourist sites and most restaurants will stay open. In the morning you might want to join mass at the Cathedral, while in the afternoon you can follow a procession that starts by the church of Sant Agustí around 5PM, goes past the Cathedral around 8PM (when they cross another procession that started from the St. Jaume church about 1 hour earlier), and gets back to Sant Agustí around 10.30PM.
Easter Saturday. Time to go out of town again: the Barcelona easter Saturday is quiet from the religious point of view (although not a public holiday, so sites and shops are open as usuall), but if you take the subway blue line (L5) to Can Vidalet you’ll be able to witness one of the most authentic parades in the area, organized by the Cofradia 15+1: a group of friends immigrated from the South of Spain that started out organizing processions like the ones they missed so much from their homeland, and now has become a reference for processions in Barcelona at Easter. They have processions every day from Friday to Sunday: on Saturday they have two, starting around 8PM from Plaça de la Bòbila.
Easter Sunday. While you can join mass in most local churches, you might want to hop again in the Rodalies train for a longer ride to a beach town called Calella de la Costa (not to be confused with Calella de Palafrugell in Costa Brava). From the balcony of the Town Hall, at noon, a kid will sing the traditional Cant de l’Àngel: a song that recalls the moment when the Virgin Mary is told her Son has resuscitated. It’s one of the few towns in Catalonia that has preserved this tradition.
AND BONUS! The yummiest Barcelona Easter tradition:
Easter Monday: La Mona. Easter Monday is a bank holiday and it marks the end of Easter in Barcelona. Godfathers will surprise their godchildren with a “Mona”, a chocolate sculpture that will be eaten for desert at the end of the family meal. It originally was a simple sponge cake decorated with hard boiled eggs (as many as years the child was old), but it then evolved into a more elaborated cake, the hard boiled eggs became chocolate eggs, which eventually became quite spectacular chocolate figures. Monas are displayed in the windows of local bakeries and cake shops during Easter Week: make sure to get your own one!
So what about you? Head to the comments below and tells share with us: will you be in Easter in Barcelona and what are your plans?