In Spain, and none so more than in Andalusia, Catholicism has long been the main religion, although the region has been occupied throughout the centuries by many different cultures, which are still very evident in much of the architecture and cuisine. In Andalusia especially, there is a strong Madonna, or Virgin Mary focus, and many still believe in the power of penitence, idolatry states and religious miracles. And for most Spanish families, religious traditions such as baptism, confirmation and marriage, are still vitally important events in family life, which are always celebrated in church. With this in mind it is not surprising the fervour that is shown during Holy Week, the most important date in the annual calendar for both Catholics and Christians. The celebration for many visitors provokes a diverse range of emotions: amongst others, shock, spiritual awareness and joy, at seeing so much passion amongst the crowds. But that’s what makes Spain so beguiling, it has such a strong sense of passion for what it believes in, you can’t help but get carried away with the feeling. Other important celebrations in Andalusia include the Festival of the May Crosses (Cruces de Mayo); we recommend a visit to the inland Andalusian city of Cordoba, where the celebrations are wonderful. June sees the Festival of the Corpus Christi and one of the best places to enjoy the celebration in Spain is in Granada. When it comes down to it, most Andalusian celebrations have a religious twist, or are based on a religious event and there is a celebration pretty much every month of the year. Its not all austerity, as perhaps is more the culture in the North; in Andalusia its about the joyous celebration of life, how to smile and be happy with whatever life puts in your way; a life lesson we could all do with taking on board.

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