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This Month's Magazine
Easter in Spain

Easter in Spain

Somewhat a different affair.

Easter in Spain is not quite like we know it Britain or indeed in most other countries. So if you are looking to buy chocolate eggs, you will only find them in specialised shops or in Gibraltar. Anywhere else is just too far to go.

While in Britain we are busy admiring the wonderful shop windows, especially prepared for the occasion, here in Spain it is much more of a religious matter. Religious processions will parade through the streets of every town and village during practically the whole week preceding Easter Sunday, “La Semana Santa”.

Easter Sunday in Christian countries is traditionally marked by church services, often held at dawn so that worshippers can view the sunrise, a symbol of Christ's resurrection. Afterwards Easter eggs are exchanged and eaten. Easter parades were also once an important tradition, during which people would wear their new clothes and the ladies in particular would show off their new "Easter bonnets". Later the family would gather for Easter lunch or dinner, which in England traditionally consisted of roast spring lamb with mint sauce, potatoes and green peas.

Eggs and rabbits (signs of fertility and new life) are traditional symbols of Easter in the British Isles. Chocolate bunnies and Easter eggs, often adorned in colourful foil wrappers, are given to children as presents or are hidden for the Easter morning "egg hunt."

There are some traditional foods that mark the Easter Sunday in Spain, but they are not consistent throughout the country as they are more regional rather than national. Many of the treats are made especially for children, while others are for all to share. After the long, arduous fast and strict observations of Lent, it’s hardly surprising that the some thought has gone into creating such dishes to celebrate the end of the fasting period!


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One traditional treat in Catalonia is given on Easter Sunday, when a godfather presents his godchild with a cake known as ‘La Mona’. These delicious chocolate delicacies can be of any shape, from the traditional round pan shape, to Disney characters, toys and pretty much anything else the baker thinks will appeal to a child. 

Another dish synonymous with Easter is the torrijas. One of the few Easter dishes eaten throughout the country, this lovely concoction consists of slices of warm bread soaked in milk, sugar and egg, then fried in olive oil. Then, they can be dipped in wine, syrup, honey, sugar or cinnamon for extra touch of richness. A simple, humble dish that tastes far better than its description.

In Catalonia and the Valencia coast, the children (and occasionally an adult!) are served Monas de Pascua on Easter Monday. Rather like the La Mona treat of Catalonia, this is a chocolate sweet — but in this case, it has the added delight of a surprise inside!

For a more substantial Easter treat, you might want to be in the Castile-Leon area, where Easter signals the arrival of the hornazo. This large pie is usually filled with pork loin, ham, beef, egg. There is also a sweet version made with almonds, sugar and aniseed.

Bartolillos madrilenos are, as the name implies, a Madrid specialty. These custard filled fried pastries are often a great consolation to visitors who are perplexed on seeing how empty the city is as most of the locals use the Easter holidays to escape to the mountains and the more exuberant south.

This dish is a popular dessert item in the restaurants and pastry shops, together with pestinos (pastries with sesame and honey) and bunuelos (yet more fried pastries), and though they may not be good for the waistline, they are definitely good for improving your outlook on life! 



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Average score: 4.00/5
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Easter Eggs

Hi, just so that you know, I've lived in Seville for 5 years now and it's become quite common to find chocholate easter eggs, bunnies and hens in the larger chain stores like El Corte Ingles and SuperSol (neither of which are foreign owned). Some of the local sweets shops are now making chocolate nazarenos, as well, which appear to be a huge hit. Otherwise, good article.

Rated: 3/5 (31st March 2010)

wrong

I don\'t know where this person was in Spain, but I\'ve been there mant Easters and there where chocolate eggs ar every single pastry shop

Rated: 5/5 (4th March 2009)

Editor's comments: There is nothing more annoying than a holiday maker or a "greenhorn" who knows it all! What are you talking about? Perhaps "Kinder" eggs? Chocolate eggs at Easter are not a Spanish tradition and will not be readily found in supermarkets and shops in the way we are accustomed to. Of course there are exceptions like some foreign owned shops or even supermarkets intent on capturing the foreign market but even in such cases the choice available is very limited.

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