Home Institution

Birmingham Southern College

Publication Date

Fall 2004

Program Name

Spain: Cultural Landscapes and the Arts


My study of the saints of the Catholic Church and their affect on society in Granada was spurred first and foremost by my own personal faith and interest in the topic. Spain is a country filled with religious iconography, and I became interested in the idea of popular devotion when I noticed that there were religious symbols everywhere. In addition, religious themes are celebrated in a very public, state supported manner. The mixture of society, religion, and government is incredible for a nation that claims to be non-confessional. Simultaneously, I discovered through various conversations that the level of devotion to Catholic rituals and figures was in decline. From this basis, I decided that I would study first the various religious forms of worship in particular centering around the Virgin and the saints and second how these religious forms of devotion fit into a changing and rapidly secularizing society. For my study I researched the various rituals through books, internet sources, and personal visits. Later I interviewed a grouping of people of differing ages, backgrounds, educational levels, and faiths. The purpose of these interviews was to ascertain the varying levels of religious devotion and to have personal narratives concerning certain forms of devotion. Many of the forms of worship that I have studied are things that must be experienced rather than observed. As an outsider who was not familiar with many of these rituals and traditions, interviews were a necessary source of information in order for my paper to be a more complete overview. From my studies I have discovered that devotion for religious figures such as the saints is still alive in Granada, but it is waning. Even some of the devout Catholics that I interviewed admitted that they were not as rigorous in their religious practices as they were in the past. Many people also expressed disillusionment with the Catholic Church. However, the religious festivals, saint’s days, processions, and special forms of personal devotion are still very much practiced, especially by the older generations.



Included in

Religion Commons


Article Location