What comes to your mind when you hear about Spain? Probably, you might think about beaches, parties and sun. It is true, we have best ones all around Europe. But we also have wonderful cities where to celebrate the Holy Week. One of these cities is a beautiful northern small town called León. During ten days the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ takes place in the streets and lemonade becomes the order of the day.
“Where everything finishes is just where it begins again”. For the majority this quotation will not mean anything, but for us, the “papones” (this is how we are called), the end of a Holy Week means the beginning of the next one. A full year of preparation, effort and sacrifice just to wear again our tunics and walk around the streets while enjoying it. It is said that only people understand your insanity if you share the same passion. I totally agree, for me Holy Week is 365 days a year, a deep feeling inside and time to spend with those you love and those who are not with you anymore but that in some way, they knew how to instill this feeling in us.
León’s Holy Week have been proclaimed as international tourist interest, and every year there are more and more people coming to enjoy this small town. “Tourism in León is widely viewed in positive ways: the audience of tourists enhances the reputation and standing of processions such as “Los Pasos”, tourists financially support the service-based economy of the city, and tourism offers a politically appropriate future direction for the ritual in the aforementioned “new Spain”. Indeed, the widespread acceptance of tourism in Holy Week makes a rigid distinction between “insiders” and “outsiders” untenable” (Badona, 2010).
Sixteen confraternities, more than 20,000 “papones” and incense odor around the streets during 10 incredible days that will make your experience here unforgettable.
This is the link to a YouTube video that can show how it is like during the Holy Week in León: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OM9q8pu9Nus
Here is the source if you want to read further about León’s Holy Week
Intersecting Journeys: The anthropology of pilgrimage and tourism. University of Illinois Press.