Latin America is an eminently Christian continent. Estaña and Portugal are framed together with Latin America in what we call Ibero-America. All Ibero-America professes mainly the Christian religion. Holy Week is one of the main Christian religious commemorations. Therefore, today we will talk about the Gastronomy and Traditions of Holy Week in Ibero-America
Throughout the region, the passion of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice to save humanity are commemorated with great joy and reflection. Holy Week reminds us that Jesus Christ was persecuted, betrayed, delivered, imprisoned, and killed for his opinions and the profession of his Faith. Therefore, today we will talk about the particular gastronomy and traditions in Holy Week in Latin America, Spain and Portugal.
The Faith of Jesus Christ that puts at the center love for neighbor, forgiveness, and kindness. According to Christian beliefs, Jesus knew his destiny and did not deny him, because through his sacrifice he would save the souls of men and women. Through His sacrifice He would seal a new agreement between God and mankind.
That is why Holy Week is so important, it reflects the suffering of Jesus and the sacrifice he made for humanity. In the same way, there are small differences during the Easter season regarding food consumption.
From the point of view of religious doctrine, the restriction of consumption of certain foods is imposed, which leads us to feed ourselves differently.
This forces chefs to be more creative during Holy Week. Thanks to this, some of the most delicious dishes in these countries have emerged. Without a doubt an opportunity won.
We will see this point later in more detail, knowing that foods cannot be consumed according to Christian religious doctrine.
Why is Holy Week relevant in Ibero-America?
Holy Week is, along with Christmas, one of the most important religious celebrations of Christianity. According to the Christian religion, before Jesus Christ men and women were born stained by original sin, the one for which Eve and Adam were expelled from paradise.
Jesus through his sacrifice comes to forgive original sin. With this, Jesus came to establish above punishment and rules, love, learning and forgiveness.
Christianity culturally marks all the countries of Latin America, Spain and Portugal.
Both Spain and Portugal had Catholic Christian kings. This marked both countries culturally and so it did with their colonies in Latin America and the rest of the world. Just as this colonization left its mark on countries like the Philippines. In some Philippine cities such as Zamboanga Spanish is still spoken.
Also, in some African countries Spanish is still spoken as an official language or of great importance. Some of these countries are the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic and Equatorial Guinea.
Portuguese is spoken in East Timor, Macau and some cities in Malaysia, India and Indonesia
The language permeated and remained in various parts of the world. So did religion. An example is represented by the Philippines where 90% of the population is Christian.
If there is a region where this influence was decisive in culture, it was in the so-called Latin America. Latin America is one of the largest and most homogeneous regions of the world in the world.
In Ibero-America we find almost 700 million inhabitants who can communicate with each other, with common cultural and religious roots.
A global community that has great respect for the sacrifice of Jesus of Nazareth.
Why is the gastronomy at Holy Week different in the Ibero-American region?
In the Christian religious tradition, flesh and sins have a great relationship. In the same way sacrifice is seen as a work of piety.
According to the different versions you can see red meat related to lust, gluttony, or ostentation. Some also relate red meat to the body of Christ sacrificed for our salvation.
They also see the opportunity to deprive themselves of red meat to honor Jesus’ sacrifice.
In ancient times, fasting and abstinence from red meat were practiced at Easter. Today the church urges the faithful to abstain from red meat on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
The church also invites believers to make other small sacrifices during Holy Week. Some of the suggested sacrifices are abstaining from alcoholic beverages, tobacco, or parties, to honor Jesus’ sacrifice.
This makes Holy Week a very special commemoration that lies at the heart of Christian values.
This abstention from red meat makes the Gastronomic creativity during this season rise. That is why the Gastronomy at Easter in Ibero-American countries is so interesting, with exclusive flavors of the season.
But let’s discover a little more why the gastronomy of the Easter season is so different.
Fish as the main protagonist of the Gastronomy of the Season.
Abstinence from red meat is one of the requests of the Catholic Church. However, there is no recommendation regarding which food replaces red meat.
One of the peculiarities of the season is that although chicken is not red meat, it is not customary to use it in Easter Gastronomy. This is because religious tradition links Jesus to fishing, because many of his disciples were fishermen.
Even Jesus told His disciples that He would make them “fishers of men.” Additionally, there is the biblical passage of the multiplication of loaves and fishes. With this, fish was closely linked in the Gastronomy of Holy Week throughout Latin America.
This is how in the gastronomy of Holy Week great priority is given to recipes and fish-based dishes. Next, you will know some of the most beloved dishes of Holy Week for some countries of the so-called Ibero-American Gastronomy.
Star dishes of the Gastronomy of several countries in Holy Week
Next, we will know some of the dishes that are prepared throughout some of the countries of Ibero-America for the Easter season.
Argentina: Vigil empanadas are the star dish of Holy Week. Prepared with a stuffed thin wheat dough that wraps the tuna or some other fish filling and baked. The Argentine gastronomy of Holy Week also includes salmon, seafood, and fried fish. A delight to visit Argentina this season.
Mexico: A strongly religious country exhibits a gastronomy in Holy Week according to its beliefs. In this season they serve soups based on fish and seafood and tacos with fish. Other delicious dishes that you cannot ignore are corn toast with shrimp, shrimp with coconut and fish with seafood filling.
Spain: One of the typical dishes of Spanish cuisine during Holy Week is the vigil stew. Vigil stew is a vegetable stew, usually based on chickpeas, spinach and cod. In different parts of Spain, it is made with different ingredients. For example, in Asturias it is called Lenten stew and is made from eggs, peppers, tomatoes and the aforementioned ingredients.
Venezuela: In Venezuela, a country with wide coastlines, fish dominates the Holy Week season. One of the tastiest dishes is the cake of “Chucho” (mongrel fish) or dogfish.
A cake based on cartilaginous fish seasoned with sweet pepper, onion, and other spices. One of the most delicious dishes you can try, typical of the land of Gustavo Mirabal. In the video below you can learn a little more about that delicious dish and others.
Gastronomy at Easter, a gift from God.
Undoubtedly, the Gastronomy in Holy Week in Latin America is the result of the religious influence in the region. Thanks to this religious influence we can have a season full of creativity and surprising flavors.
Christians will be able to take advantage of this Holy Week to appreciate the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and taste some delicious flavors that fish brings and that do not result in a great sacrifice.
And if you are not a Christian it is also an opportunity to taste the delicious gastronomy of Holy Week that at the same time is very healthy, thanks to the fact that it is based on fish and vegetables. Take the opportunity to live a gastronomic experience in your country or during a trip to these countries of the world.