Easter is a BIG deal in Spain
While in the United States, United Kingdom and other parts of Europe the Easter holiday revolves around chocolate, eggs and the Bunny, in Spain it is the biggest celebration of the year.
The entire week after Lent leading up to Easter Sunday is known as "Semana Santa" in Spain. Recognized as one of the most spectacular and emotional experiences in the world, the annual tribute of the Passion of Jesus Christ is rich in history, dating back to the 16th century. Combining religious devotion, art and music to commemorate the Holy Week, the amount of pageantry varies by region but the basic components of Semana Santa remain the same.
Witnessed by upwards of 50,000 people in some cities, visitors come from all over the world come to watch the daily processions of religious brotherhoods that parade through the streets wearing traditional hoods and robes. Carrying extravagant floats (Pasos) that often weigh thousands of pounds, the Pasos feature ornate statues depicting the Cruxifiction. Owned and preserved by the brotherhoods, these priceless pieces of art date back to the 16th and 17th century.
As the third most visited country in the world, Spain’s thriving tourism industry accounts for 11% of its gross domestic product. Hiring in the service, hospitality and transportation sector explodes during the Holy Week. Over 160,000 new temporary employment contracts are anticipated for the 2017 Holy Week celebration, a 9.5% increase over the previous year. The later calendar date for the holiday is expected to result in not only increased tourism, but more jobs. Hiring for the peak summer season began earlier than usual with employers extending their Easter workforce into the summer season, lengthening the duration of worker "fijo discontinuo" (fixed duration) contracts.
The calendar shift will also prove beneficial to other countries as spending is expected to set a record this year. The April Easter holiday, three weeks later than the previous year, allows more time for shopping. Americans celebrating Easter are expected to spend an average of $152 per person or about $2.6 billion on Easter candy.
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