As Catholicism still very much prevails across the South American continent, Easter, otherwise known as, “Semana Santa,” is one of the year’s biggest religious celebrations. Although younger generations may not be quite as religious as their parents, Easter is still a big deal in this part of the world.
Also known as Holy Week it’s celebrated in different ways in different countries – some being solemnly religious while others are more commercial and even pagan.
Semana Santa starts on Domingo de Ramos (Palm Sunday) through Jueves Santo (Maundy Thursday), Viernes Santo (Good Friday) and ending on Pascua or Domingo de Resurrecion (Easter Sunday). There are particular rituals, processions and events for the different days along with masses, prayer meetings and other religious observations.
This is a week when things often slow down and many schools and offices are closed. Even for non-Catholics it is a great time to visit South America – you really get to see the culture, heritage and tradition of this amazing continent. Two of the best places to enjoy Semana Santa and see spectacular processions include Ayacucho in Peru and Popayan in Colombia.
One tip – as many people have this week off it means that most decent accommodation will fill up fast so make sure you book somewhere nice to stay in advance to enjoy the celebrations! And don’t forget to ask your hotel about all the events going on and of course any closures that may affect your trip.
It’s a wonderful time to see South America and really appreciate it’s history and how it has shaped it’s culture - have a look at www.historichaciendas.com for some inspirational places to stay.
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