Easter Holy Week (Semana Santa) is the biggest and most important religious celebration of the year in Mallorca and Spain.
As well as the religious importance of the Easter parades they are also a slice of Mallorcan history: records show the first Easter celebrations were recorded as happening in 464 years ago! They are taken very seriously on the island with processions in most towns and villages with the grandest occurring in Palma, the island’s capital. The parades are made up of “cofradias” (brotherhoods) which also dates back to the middle ages.
The processions are to pay penance and people taking part in the processions traditionally wear the “capirote” which is a tall conical hat and mask. (They bear a striking resemblance to the Klu Klux Klan robes, but they are not connected). The “capirote” was worn by penitents who would walk around the streets atoning for their sins, the idea being that the hat concealed their identity.
Huge crosses and statues of Jesus decorated with flowers and candles are carried through the streets with the accompaniment of music, sometimes mournful flamenco singing, and sometimes in complete silence. The Palma parades are nightly with Good Friday being the final one.
Easter is also a time for getting together with family and baking, but if you don’t have the time then you can go to the bakery and ask for whatever takes your fancy.
• Empanadas – similar to a small pie usually filled with lamb and peas, you can ask for it with peas (con guisante) or without (sin guisante).
• Coccarois – a Cornish pasty shaped pie with onion, garlic, raisin and chard filling.
• Robiols – a half moon shaped pastry filled with marmalade, angel’s hair (pumpkin) or curd cheese.
• Crespells – sweet biscuits made in varied shapes.