11 April 2007

what, no easter bunnies?

easter in spain reminds me that i live in a foreign country. first of all the holiday occupies more space than at home, taking up four days that for a teacher stretches into a full week off of work.

however, long weekends aren't so rare around here. the real spanish-ness of easter is its religious/secular duality, much like the country itself. i've heard it quoted that over 95% of spain is catholic, yet i've never seen such a group of christians come off so liberal, so laid-back. in essence, spaniards are catholic in name only, yet the architecture and rituals of christianity are deeply ingrained in the culture.

and nowhere more so than during easter week. spaniards use jesus' death as an unequivocal excuse to go on vacation. there could not be less religious significance to the holiday. however, no trip to the beach during holy week would complete without watching a procession, an ancient and quite spooky parade of virgin statues escorted by hooded bearers and haunting drum music.

in the context of something modern and secular you have a throwback to medieval rites. and all around it, before and after, the people spill out of the bars into the streets, drinking, being spanish, celebrating easter by enjoying their days off.

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