First of all, sorry that I haven’t updated this blog in a while, the month of April has been extremely busy for me here between Semana Santa (Holy Week), vacations from class, and my family visiting me here in León.
I would like to start by talking about the tradition of Semana Santa in León because I had never seen anything like it before. Cities in Spain celebrate Easter with numerous processions through the streets consisting of extravagant floats, people dressed up in robes, carrying candles or crosses, and traditional music. These processions start the Friday before Holy Week and last until Easter Sunday, with numerous processions each day of the week. They were certainly impressive and because the floats that are used were carried on the shoulders of up to 40 men, and they would sway back and forth with the sound of the music through the crowded streets. Many people in the city, including children, walked in these processions wearing the traditional robes with long pointed hoods that completely cover the face. (As a warning, although the robes with the hoods are strikingly similar to the Ku Klux Klan, there is absolutely no connection there. Many people had warned me of that beforehand, but it was still very strange to see the way the people were dressed). These processions are very solemn events and are traditions that have occurred for hundreds of years here in Spain.
Although the city of Sevilla is best-known for the processions of Semana Santa, León also happens to be pretty well known and the streets filled up with tourists who came to see the processions. That week actually made me relieved that I don’t study in a city where there is a ton of tourism because I absolutely love the feeling of this small city where I really feel at home.
Another tradition of Semana Santa in León is the Limonada. Although it literally means “lemonade”, its a type of Sangria that you can only find during Semana Santa. It consists of wine, sugar, lemons, and other fruits and each of the bars has their own version of Limonada. However, it can be somewhat dangerous because it is extremely sweet and you normally can’t taste that alcohol in it!
Overall, this was a great week to experience some of the local traditions and the culture here in León, and it was definitely very different than anything that I had seen before. If you’re interested in some more information about the traditions of Semana Santa in León, check out this link!