Spain’s 2020 Semana Santa celebrations cancelled

Due to the coronavirus outbreak in Spain, traditional Easter celebrations will not be able to take place as planned.

Semana Santa processions usually fill Spain's streets at Easter / Pixabay
Semana Santa processions usually fill Spain's streets at Easter / Pixabay
31 March 2020, Emma Donaldson

In Spain, the Easter holidays are traditionally one of the biggest events in the calendar and the most important celebrations take place during Holy Week. The famous Semana Santa is so much more than chocolate eggs on the Iberian Peninsula; it is a commemoration of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, celebrated with somber processions. Semana Santa 2020, however, will be somewhat different.

Due to the coronavirus outbreak across Spain, the country remains in state of alarm status and will do until at least 11th April 2020. This means that Easter processions that should be taking place all over Spain from 5th – 12th April will not go ahead, as the period of confinement at home for all residents continues where all members of the population must obey strict lockdown rules and regulations.

The Spanish dioceses have clearly stated that they do not yet know what will happen with this year’s Easter celebrations: nothing is clear, apart from the fact that the religious acts and processions that should be taking place from 5th – 12th April are suspended. One of the possible options would be to follow the Vatican's proposal and hold the processions at a later date, on 14th and 15th September 2020. However, it has been stated Spanish archbishops, such as those in Granada, Seville, Cádiz, Mallorca or Zaragoza where the biggest celebrations are held, will not make any decision until the COVID-19 health emergency has dramatically improved.

Spain’s largest and most famous Easter celebrations undoubtedly take place in Seville, but the Coronavirus outbreak and paralysis of activity across Spain means that for the first time since 1933 there will be no Semana Santa processions in Seville. The huge event will be an emotional and economic loss for the Andalusian city, with the weeklong Easter celebrations usually contributing some 400 million euros to the economy.

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