Experiencing the Holy Week from Ostrava: A Glimpse into Spanish Traditions

Let's talk about Easter in the Canary Islands! I'm Sheila, I am a marketing student from Spain, and I am currently doing my internship at the Ostrava Expats Centre.

This year, I find myself in the charming city of Ostrava during Holy Week. It’s fascinating to notice how different the holiday is here compared to what I get used to. In Ostrava, Holy Week is observed quietly, which was unexpected for me. Coming from Spain, where Holy Week is not onlyreligious holiday but alsosignificant part of our culture and tradition.

From the processions in Andalusia to the vibrant drum processions of Aragon, each region has its own traditions that are passed down from generation to generation.

On “Domingo de Ramos” (Palm Sunday), the streets are dressed in green with the palms and olive branches that commemorate Jesustriumphal entry into Jerusalem. “Jueves Santo” (Maundy Thursday) isday of recollection and spending time with loved ones, some masses and eucharists are also celebrated to commemorate the Last Supper and the Washing of the feet. On the other hand, “Viernes Santo” (Good Friday) isday of reflection, marked by sobriety and silence. On “Domingo de Resurrección” (Easter Sunday), joy and hope explode in the form of processions and family celebrations. 

In my beloved Canary Islands, Holy Week is celebrated withunique charm and generous character. Since I waschild, I remember the excitement of creating crosses of natural flowers to decorate the front door of my house, and how the streets becamestage of religious fervor, with thousands of people accompanying the sacred images in the processions

Gastronomy also plays an important role. On Good Friday it is traditional to eatpotaje de vigilia”,chickpea and cod stew. Or some typical regional meatless dishes such as French toast, salted fish and ‘papas arrugadas’ (boiled potatoes) with mojo picón sauce, in the Canary Islands.   

Experiencing Holy Week from Ostrava has allowed me to appreciate the richness and diversity of traditions, here this special week is tinged with a more pagan air than in my homeland; with the Easter Markets that provide an opportunity for families to come together and enjoy traditional foods and activities, and the “kraslice” filling the tables with colorful designs. As I see it, whether you are religious or not, Holy Week is a time for family and introspection, to reflect on our values and beliefs, and to find inspiration in the new beginnings symbolized by the arrival of Spring. 

If you ever have the opportunity to live Holy week in Spain. I am sure you will be covered by an atmosphere of passion and hope you will never forget!  

¡Feliz Semana Santa! 

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