Easter Celebration in Argentina
Argentina as a whole is a very religious country. According to the CIA Factbook, roughly 92% of all the inhabitants are Catholic. Although only a fraction of this percentage actively practise their faith, it nevertheless illustrates how popular the idea of religion is here. That is why the week of Santa, or Holy Week, is celebrated with fervor in the city of Buenos Aires.
One of the biggest processions is the Via Crucis (Stations of the Cross) that happens on Good Friday, which is a public holiday in Argentina. The procession will start from Plaza Lorea in Congreso. The 14 Stations of the Cross will be reenacted by actors accompanied with choir and musicians as they move towards along Avenida de Mayo towards Buenos Aires Cathedral. This year’s Via Crucis starts at 8:30 pm and will probably last until around 10 pm. Participants are encouraged to bring candles and join from the start or along the way.
The processions during the week are great, and there are many interesting activities to do, but the primary reason that Easter will be such a enjoyment is the routine feast that happens on Easter Sunday. It is a time for friends and family to gather and have an asado to celebrate the end of lent. They generally cook more food than everyone could comfortably consume. People will feast for a while, step away from the food for a break, and then return later for round two. The last time I attended one of these I was beyond full but very happy. Note: During the week and on Sunday, Tuna is very popular so expect to eat a lot of it! After the meal(s) have finished, people will give each other chocolate eggs (huevos de Pascua) with small licorice flavored candies on the inside; if this isn’t enough for dessert, there will be a cake called “Rosca de Pascua” (see below for recipe) that will be served. It looks like an oversized doughnut and can be topped with a wide variety of sweets and spreads.
Of course, it wouldn’t be Easter if there wasn’t an Easter mass on Sunday. The largest mass occurs at the main cathedral in the Plaza de Mayo area. It is given by the Archbishop but only in Spanish. However, if you wish to go to mass in English, there are options elsewhere; at 10 am close to Retiro there is a church called Parroquia Madre Admirable and there is also the Christian United Community Church in Acassuso which both offer mass in English.
Easter Weekend in Buenos Aires Argentina
The Easter long weekend is a 4-day long weekend (Saturday March 24 is our Remembrance Day and March 23 being Good Friday). The “extended” time off means different things for different people. If you, religious or not, found yourself travelling in Buenos Aires at this time, there are quite a few things you can do to make it a memorable local experience:
Join the Pope Francis Circuit
This it a 3 hours tour to visit all the important places that marked Pope Francis (Jorge Bergoglio) life in Buenos Aires.
When? Saturdays at 3pm. Sundays, and public holidays at 9am and 3pm. Duration: approximately 3 hours.
The tour will last 3 hours (please be 15 minutes earlier)
Starting point Basílica San José de Flores, Av. Rivadavia 6950 and it will finish at the same place
If you want a ticket on this tour you need to send an email to: [email protected]
You can also call 5030 9100 ext. 2134 (be advised that they might not speak English)
For more information about this tour please visit this website http://www.turismo.buenosaires.gob.ar/es/article/circuito-papal-en-bus
Visit Tierra Santa
Tierra Santa (Holy Land) is a religious theme park. When it was opened in 2000, it was first of its kind! The park is conveniently located just north of the Palermo neighborhood. It’s almost like an old Jerusalem town hidden in the city. We have visited and shared our experience at Tierra Santa on a regular weekend here, but Easter weekend is a special occasion where you’ll be in for a treat with a full program of once-a-year only performances and activities.
Eat Rosca de Pascua
Rosca de pascua is a brioche-like ring-shaped sweet bread traditionally covered with custard cream and candied cherries. It’s the cake we enjoy during Easter time. You can easily find them at panaderías (bakeries) and some might have their own recipes using other ingredients like whole hard-boiled eggs, dried fruits and nuts, chocolate, dulce de leche, etc. Check out this video from an Argentine TV program on how to make a traditional rosca de pascua step by step and get the tips on how to make it properly (Spanish only).