Best time to go to Colombia

Semana Santa (Holy Week) & Easter 2024 in Colombia

The holy week in Colombia is celebrated with colorful religious performances and ceremonies

Dates: March 24–31, 2024

Semana Santa (Holy Week) & Easter
Semana Santa (Holy Week) & Easter

For Colombian people, Semana Santa (Holy Week) is one of the most important annual celebrations. It traditionally starts on Palm Sunday and lasts until Easter Sunday. The whole week is packed with pilgrimages and processions, held at most temples throughout one of the most Catholic countries in the world. The peak of ceremonies falls on Maundy Tuesday and Good Friday, when people all over Colombia commemorate Jesus Christ’s Passion, crucifixion, and death.

Where to see Semana Santa celebrations in Colombia

In the capital city of Bogota, all performances and processions are held on the sacred mountain Monserrate. However, the most impressive events take place in Popayán and Mompox, known as the religious centers of Colombia. Two more destinations to experience the local vibes of Semana Santa and Easter include Pamplona and Sabanalarga.

Semana Santa in Popayán

Holy Week in Popayán boasts six impressive parades, involving thousands of participants. No wonder local Easter is included in the UNESCO World Heritage list. If you want to soak up all fervor and devotion, follow a trail through the city's eight most significant churches, including the Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Assumption, El Carmen temple, and the churches of San Francisco, San Augustin, and Santo Domingo. Besides, you may want to visit the highly acclaimed Festival of Sacred Music, which features various international choirs and orchestras and is held at the Guillermo Valencia Theater.

Popayán is located in Cauca, south-west Colombia. The city is praised for some of Colombia's most outstanding architecture, despite the consequences of the 1983 earthquake. Church steeples form the city's skyline, and there seems to be a church almost around every corner. Popayán is also called White City due to the largest concentration of churches, steepling from the skyline. So, you should visit this place for a number of reasons.

Semana Santa in Mompox

Another recommended destination for Easter in Colombia is Mompox, namely Santa Cruz de Mompox in Bolívar, north Colombia. The area stands out for its blend of Catholic and indigenous traditions. Back in 1564, the local elite used to sacrifice jewels, altars, and other precious things to deserve eternal salvation. Similarly, today, they deck out their Saints with gems and wear their most expensive jewelry and clothes to mourn for Jesus Christ during the Holy Week processions and their dead in the town's cemetery. An outstanding feature of Mompox processions is the unique rhythm adopted by pilgrims—two steps forward, one step back. Usually, processions involve seven colonial churches, but the most popular include the churches of Santa Barbara, Santo Domingo, Concepción, and San Juan de Dios.

Easter foods in Colombia

Colombia boasts quite a few Easter specialties. During Holy Week, vendors offer homemade sweets from coconut, mango, rice, papaya, and other ingredients. On Good Friday, locals serve Potaje de la Vigilia, which means "fasting soup," cooked with codfish, chickpeas, and spinach. This hearty soup, or rather stew, comes from Spain and stems from the old tradition that says to abstain from red meats during the Lent. Also, Colombian Easter meals include green iguanas, slider turtles, and capybaras, the world's largest rodent. Locals inherited the latter tradition from the migrants who arrived in Colombia from eastern Asia centuries ago.

Book a hotel

Holy Week in Colombia is so busy that accommodation rates at that time go up, so make your bookings in advance.

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Last updated:
Authors: Olha Savych