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Eight surprising facts about Easter in Spain

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A Holy Week procession on the beach in Valencia. Photo: AFP
13:43 CET+01:00
Pardoning prisoners, dressing up as skeletons, "killing Jews" and just what are those white pointy hats about? We reveal all...

Easter week is celebrated in Spain like nowhere else on earth, and Spaniards take their Holy Week traditions very seriously, even if some of them - to the outsider - seem a little bit bonkers. 

Eight surprising facts about Easter in Spain 

From the Catalan town where residents dress up as skeletons to the practice of freeing two dozen inmates from prison every Easter, Spain has its share of surprisingly strange Holy Week facts. 

Jew-killers

One of Spain's most unusual Easter celebrations is held in the town of Bierzo in León. If you are ever around that way during Holy Week you might be surprised to hear people saying "let's kill the Jews" as they knock back glasses of special wine-lemonade.

The common story for how this tradition started is that back in the 14th century, a nobleman named Suero de Quiñones owed money to a Jewish lender. But instead of paying it off, he rallied others against the Jews, saying that they had killed Jesus. Between Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, Quiñones and his supporters stormed the Jewish quarter and killed many people, including the money lender.
 
To celebrate the massacre, Quiñones and his group drank wine, beginning the start of the tradition that still goes on today.
 
But there's plenty more oddity to be found across Spain, as we at The Local explain:

Story continues below…

 


Antonio Banderas getting involved in Easter week celebrations in Malaga. Photo: AFP

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