Daily Spanish Expressions related to Holy Week ( Semana Santa)
“Semana Santa” (Holy week) is one of the major celebration of the year in Spain and has different traditions depending on which Spanish region you are.
Holy Week is usually celebrated around the end of March / beginning of April.
Holy Week is a remembrance of the passion, death and rising of Jesus Christ. We can find various expressions still daily used in Spanish related to this period.
Here are some expressions and its origins that you can use to speak like a native.
“DE PASCUAS A RAMOS “
Literally from Easter to Palm Sunday.
Palm Sunday commemorates the entrance of Jesus to Jerusalem – just one week before Easter (Christ’s resurrection). From Palm Sunday to Easter there a 51 weeks, that is why we use this expression when we are doing something every now and then.
Example: “Voy al gimnasio de Pascuas a Ramos / (I am going to the gym once in a blue moon)
“SER UN JUDAS “
Judas kissed Jesus to show the Romans who he was so that they could arrest him. We use to call this kiss the “betrayal kiss”. That is where the expression comes from. Being a Judas is being someone false that you cannot trust.
Example: ¡Ese todo que ha dicho, mentira!; ¡Ese es más falso que Judas! / Everything he said was just a lie, he’s a real Judas!
“LAVARSE LAS MANOS”
The Romans brought Jesus to the Roman prefect Pontius Pilate – in charge of justice in the region. He first declared Jesus innocent but the pressure of the people was that strong that he had to change his mind and sentenced him to die on the cross.
Pontius Pilate publicly washed his hands to show that he was not responsible of the decision. The expression is still used today when you don´t want to take responsibility of an action or a decision.
Example: Juan no ha querido meterse en los asuntos de su hermano, se ha lavado las manos. / Juan did not not want to meddle in his brother’s affairs and has passed the buck.
“¡QUÉ CRUZ!” “¡ESTÁ HECHO UN CRISTO!”
As part of the sentence, Jesus Christ had to go walking up to Mount Calvary ( named as Stations of the cross)
He was in agony as he had to carry a heavy cross and was suffering physical and moral pain.
This moment has inspired some expressions to describe a very painful moment or burden and can also describe a very annoying person
Example: “No sé cómo aguantas a esta persona, ¡qué cruz!" / I don’t know how you can deal with this person, listening to her is such a cross to bear!
“LLORAR COMO UNA MAGDALENA”
This expression is quite international as you can find it in many languages. It literally means “to cry like Magdalene” even if the confusion exists in many languages between the name Magdalene and the cupcake Madeleine because it is the same word in many tongues.
In front of Jesus Christ crucified, two women were standing. Mary ( Jesus’mother) and Maria Magdalena – his loyal friend who could not stop crying.
That’s why the expression means to cry your eyes / heart out.
Example: Desde que David ha roto su juguete, llora como una Magdalena.
David is crying his eyes out since he broke his toy.