Fiesta de Primavera
Updated: May 8
Let me present you some traditions of Easter and spring celebrations that Murcia has. This year has been lacking many of the traditions, but even so, let’s see some of them.
Semana Santa (The Saint Week, before the Easter) has more meaning and traditions than the Easter day itself. Domingo de Ramos or the Palm Sunday is also the day when Semana Santa starts. Starting with this particular day many processions happen all around Spain. Branches of olive trees are taken to the church for the mass in remembering the biblical scene of Jesus entering Jerusalem.
Image source: La Opinion de Murcia
Friday is perhaps the most important day when massive theatrical scenes with costumes and street enactment take place all around the city depicting episodes of the Old Testament. As for every religious festivity, Easter has traditions regarding the church itself as well. Saturday night it’s the ceremony day and at 00.00 the bells are ringing to announce the Sunday of resurrection.
Mona de Pascua is baked and it’s typical for the Mediterranean Spanish coast. If you didn’t already get used to it Murcia has its own terms. They are called de Pascua because these are typical for Easter, yet Murcia has them all year long. You can eat these sweet with a bit of chocolate or salty along with other meals. Chocolate bunnies are given to children as well to celebrate Easter.
Image source: www.directoalpaladar.com
As soon as the Easter week ends, Murcia takes on its festive clothes for El bando de la huerta and Entiero de la Sardina, 2 of the most important celebrations of Fiestas de Primavera (Spring Celebrations).
Image source: regmurcia.com
El bando de la huerta is a regional celebration specific only for Murcia recognised though internationally. The celebration got this name for the parade that takes place on Tuesday of Fiestas de Primavera, which includes music bands, parades of giants and big heads, dance groups and chariots pulled by tractors with typical elements of the Murcian orchard aspects. People dressed in costumes spread food and beverage typical for the region. In fact, it is a holiday that celebrates the farmers of Murcia so food and drinks like michirones, pipirrana, zarangollo or paparajotes cannot miss. Besides the parade, inhabitants dress like huertanos and huertanas in the honour of the farmers.
Images source: Wikipedia
The origins of this event seem to be from 1851 when few youngsters tried to ridicule the farmers dressing up as them. The initial reason was rapidly forgotten and turned out to be a celebration dedicated in the honour of the farmers and their traditions. The celebration is to be postponed for September but now let’s see if that’ll happen.
Entiero de la Sardina or the burial of the sardine is as well part of Fiestas de Primavera. Its main parade of floats and men dressed ends up eventually with the burn of the “sardine” on Saturday. This activity recalls the old pagan myths as the fire has a cleansing function. Originated from the 19th Century is a tradition with a carnival character. The fish represents the impossibility of eating meet during the fasting period, while its burning is the symbol of having gotten to its end (Saturday after Easter). The fire, key element, is present in all the components of this fest, has a purifying character. The burning part actually takes places as a massive particularly made statue for this occasion is being set on fire being the sign of the end of the festivity as well.
Image source: regmurcia.com
The full list of activities for Fiestas de Primavera include: Bando de la Huerta (Tuesday), election of Queen of Orchard (only for girls that will pass through different tasks that offers the right to represent Murcia for 1 year), a orchard mass (religious procession up to Virgen de la Fuensanta, the patron of the city), parade of Bando de la Huerta, parade of Murcia in spring (Wednesday, full of flowers), the day of pastel de carne (Wednesday, after the parade; typical Murcian product), Entierro de la sardine (Saturday morning, arrival of sardine, the will of the sardine, the great parade, the burning). Needless to say that throughout all this week there are food and drinking stands all around the city.
Seeing Murcia as it really is should happen in this period as the city’s celebrations will show you more than ever the local traditions.