If you have only one week to spend in Spain make it Semana Santa- Holy Week. While rooted in the Roman Catholic religion and the events leading up to the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, this week long fiesta is as much about tradition and culture. It’s a time for families to go home, for eating and drinking with friends and respecting the processions of thrones and penitents. It’s a time for reflecting on personal and collective sorrows. The penitents dress in long robes, white, red, black or blue depending on the church or brotherhood they are affiliated with. The heads are covered too with tall conical hats called capriotes draped with fabric the same as the robe. Two slits around the eyes allow the processor to see but be incognito to the crowd. Atop the thrones are images and scenes from the last week of Christ’s life, or Jesus on the cross or an elaborately dressed Mary. These thrones are beautifully handcrafted from carved wood or silver. For some it takes 40 men to lift and carry it with each man shouldering as much as 50 kilos. The processions last for at least 4 hours. The longest here in Arcos de la Frontera was due to start Good Friday at 2 a m and go until 4 pm (yes 14 hours). Unfortunately (or maybe not if you had been chosen to heft that particular throne) it had to be cancelled. Why? Yep, it was raining. No showeryness this time, but a downpour that lasted many hours. The mood during Semana Santa in Arcos de la Frontera swings from sombre and respectful to merry and very loud as women totter on amazingly high heels with their friends, husbands and boyfriends stopping at every bar it seems to order una copa de vino and tapas. It’s a time to show off this season's fashions, your new purse and those shoes! The party is on every street here and under our window until 3 every morning. so when you come during Semana Santa bring your best clothes. Guys - a suit and crisp shirt looks best – and ladies, treat yourself to the highest heels you can wobble along on. And bring earplugs if you plan on sleeping.