Diumenge de Rams | In the Dark


Walking about yesterday I noticed that, not far from my apartment, on the Rambla de Catalunya, there was a street market offering a variety of curious merch. I was a bit confused until I realized that today is Palm Sunday, which is Domingo de Ramos in Spanish or Diumenge de Rams in Catalan; both mean “Sunday of Branches”. The long branches, some festooned with sweets and/or ribbons, are meant to be held by boys, while girls carry the smaller stems with intricate woven crosses. There is a procession called La Borriquita (“The Little Donkey”) which goes around the town today. It involves a statue rather than a real donkey, in case you were wondering.

Palm Sunday marks the start of Holy Week (Semana Santa), leading up to Easter Sunday, which lies on March 31st this year. There are no lectures for students next week at the University of Barcelona, though I believe the Faculty of Physics will remain open up to Thursday; Good Friday (Viernes Santa) is a public holiday, as is Monday. I think these holidays are more strictly observed here than in Ireland; most stores are closed on Sundays anyway, and this will be even more the case on Easter Sunday. Having said that, Barcelona is by no means the most religious Spanish city. I have been in Spain at Easter a few times before, and the ceremonies vary considerably from place to place, some sombre and some celebratory.

In practical terms this all means that I have to remember to get some serious shopping in on Thursday. Although stores will be open on Saturday, I think they will be very busy!

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