The Sitges festive calendar, like that of most Catalan towns, is marked by the Catholic liturgical tradition, which is quite strict and widespread. In the last fifty years, however, each people has been adapting it to its reality, according to the human capacity to maintain it, the customs or the tradition.
The holiday of Palm Sunday (this year on April 10) marks the end of Lent and the beginning of Holy Week. The Catholic Church commemorates on this day the triumphant entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem shortly before his passion and death.
It is in memory of this fact that on Palm Sunday there is the custom of going to bless the palms and palms in the Town Hall Square at twelve at noon, also branches of olive and laurel. Once the laurel has been blessed, it is stored in the pantry of the houses and used throughout the year to make the stews more palatable. And in some homes it is still a tradition to hang the blessed palm on the balcony and leave it there all year round, because it is believed to give protection and good luck.
Tradition has it that the godparents were in charge of buying palms and palms from the godchildren, and garnishing them with bows, sugar rosaries and other sweets. In Sitges, one of the hanging ornaments is ‘the gentlemen and ladies’, otherwise known as ‘currutacos’ . These are cookies with different shapes that the Can Sabaté patisserie still makes for this day.
After the blessing, before there was a procession through the streets surrounding the temple, now it only goes from the square to the parish. Everyone takes the opportunity to take a rigorous photo because “for Palm Sunday, whoever doesn’t premiere doesn’t have hands.” Many of us were lucky enough to wear dresses made by our mothers. Another very Catalan expression is “Easter before Rams” . It is said when someone has had a relationship before marriage and the consequences are obvious.
Holy Thursday begins with an exhibition of the mysteries or passages of the Passion in the parish, in the hermitage of Sant Sebastià, in Can Falç and in the Agrupació de Balls Populars. They are displayed in a richly lit and decorated setting. (Check the municipal website for where to find them.) The Calvary dioramas exhibition, made by nativity scene masters, has now been added to the day. They can be seen in the Popular Dance Group.
In the morning, the Blessed Sacrament is placed in the Monument, a kind of altar built specifically for this purpose. In the evening, the procession of the Mysteries or the Blood took place, which was composed exclusively of men.
On Good Friday , in the early hours of the morning, there is a viacrucis from the hermitage of San Sebastián (if you go, take the opportunity to see the new stained glass windows). It was also the day to pick thyme, thyme, or thyme. At six o’clock in the afternoon the rosary is celebrated and in the evening the procession of Silence or Sorrows takes place, which was previously attended only by women.
Today only the Good Friday procession is maintained with eight steps accompanied by confreres, pendonistas, cordonistas and parishioners, both men and women. One of the most characteristic and striking elements of the Holy Week processions is, without a doubt, the presence of confreres and penitents, many of them carrying the insults or symbolic objects of the Passion and barefoot, who, with their hoods and robes of various colors and symbols, according to the brotherhood to which they belong, bring to life the oldest and most poignant image of this celebration. The conical-shaped hood or hood, which covers the face, grants the necessary anonymity required by the act of penance. The other highlight is the ladies’ black dresses and mantles.
Glory Saturday puts an end to abstinence (you can’t eat meat or meat products, now we’ll call it a vegan diet) and fasting. strong> (practiced on Lent Thursdays) of the Lenten period and Easter begins. When it gets dark, the candies come out, which, with their choral songs, fill the streets with joy. Formerly made up only of men, mostly single, the groups of singers wander around the village houses all night dedicating their songs to the girls from Sitges.
The caramel makers are wearing hats and one of them has a long wooden pole, from the top of which hangs a basket decorated with flowers and colored ribbons. After the serenade, the basket is raised to the balcony of the house so that the neighbors can reward the singers with a gift: sausages, eggs, tortillas, malvasia, money …
The solemn Sunday of Resurrection is the most solemn service. The next day, the Easter Monday , families and groups of friends used to go out to some place on the outskirts of the town (in the era of the Mills, in Santa Bàrbara, in Can Milà, in Plaça del Vinyet …) to eat the traditional Easter monkey , and some also made a ribs, that is, they ate grilled lamb. Like the lambs that the Jews offered as sacrifices during the Passover celebrations, Jesus was our lamb, offered in exchange for the forgiveness of our sins.
Until the mid-20th century, Easter cakes were made of flour, oil, and sugar, and had nothing to do with the sophisticated cakes that are made today. They included as many hard-boiled eggs as the godson who would pick them up at his godfather’s house. Due to abstinence, during this period, the eggs that the hens in the houses kept laying were piled up, so they were used as a gift and included in the first meal of the celebration. Also because it has the symbolic character of representing the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Another typical product these days and very Sitges is the ‘monfló’ , which tastes more refined than the monkey roll, because it has butter and cumin. And to accompany it, there is nothing better than a glass of malvasia or muscatel from Sitges.
If you want to share in the popular culture of the host country, share a good monkey or monk with friends and family, and celebrate the renewed life of each spring together. You can also give away candy, that is, hire a band to come to your house to sing, or to go home to a loved one!
Caramelles del Prado +34 93 894 31 10 www.casinoprado.cat </ a >
Retirement Candy +34 93 894 01 37 www.elretirositges.com >
Caramelles Sitgetanes +34 618 032 945 (Jesus) www.caramellessitgetanes.com </ a>