The celebrations of the Semana Santa the week before Easter are carried out according to traditional rituals in many villages. To remember the suffering of Christ, parishioners carry statues of the Christ and Saints along the streets. In some villages the outstanding processions are a real attraction for visitors from all over Spain and Portugal. Jerez de los Calleros emerges as the most attractive of these villages because a large number of processions take place there. In Jerez, as in other villages, the procession’s attendees wear large white cowls and pointed hoods bearing only two small peepholes. The hoods have been a symbol of Catholic identity in the country for centuries and have become a photo motif particularly appreciated by tourists.
In Extremadura the celebration of Saint Isidore the Labourer on 10th May is of utmost significance. In the majority of cases, the St. Isidore Feast takes place during the weekend after Labour Day, the 1st May. Saint Isidore is widely venerated by farmers who first celebrated him as their patron saint. In Extremadura the Isidore cult plays a very important role, as the country was until a short time ago purely agrarian. Isidore, who is also the patron saint of Madrid, was a farm servant in the High Middle Ages, and later a bailiff of an entire estate in the vicinity of Madrid. His fellow-labourers, so says the legend, distrusted and suspected him to be lazy, because he was accustomed to hearing a Mass and praying every day. At their urging, their master secretly observed Isidore, and saw him at prayer while two bullocks were doing the ploughing for him. That is why farmers parade with their tractors and trailers during processions today, in honour of the Saint.
Besides the Semana Santa and St. Isidore Feast, each village celebrates its own patron saint on his commemoration day. Each city or village has developed its proper style for organising the festivities for their Saints and to pray for protection and support. Also particularly interesting are the White Sundays, on which young boys and girls aged about 10-years-old have their first communion. At many places groups of children acclaimed by relatives and friends march along the street behind the priest.
The most important place of religious veneration is located on the outskirts of eastern Extremadura. The Monastery of Guadalupe shelters the Black Madonna of Guadalupe, who is the patron saint of the entire Spanish world. Many cities in central and south America are named after this place. During her festival day on 8th September, and the holy day of the Spanish world on 12th October, the statue of Madonna is carried out through small streets while being adored by thousands of Catholics from all over world. It has always been regarded as a holy obligation by the religious people of Spanish-speaking countries to make a pilgrimage to the Virgen de Guadalupe once in their life.