Posts Tagged ‘festival’

Semana Santa en Sevilla


Ze place to be for the Holy Week is arguably Spain, more specifically in Seville, Andalusia.

Brotherhoods (associations of Catholic laypersons, called Cofradías) organise processions which basically are public religious displays.  Some are silent, some are musical. They start at the home church of their brotherhood to Seville’s Cathedral and back, taking the shortest possible route, as decreed in the rule of the ordinances by Cardenal Niño de Guevara in the 17th century.

It can be a very long procedure, anywhere from a few hours to a whole day, regrouping hundreds or thousands of nazarenos.

Around 60 processions are scheduled from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, the most important one being right after midnight on Good Friday. Known as La Madrugá, this tradition dates back from 1340.

Procession - courtesy of WikiCommons

There are similarities in processions:

-Having a Great Cross open the way

-Nazarenos: group of people wearing habits and pointed hoods (capirotes), holding candles

-Acolytes wearing holy robes and holding candles and incense

-Penitentes: people holding wooden crosses and making public penance

 Interesting info:  The hoods worn by nazaneros were once a way to inflict themselves corporal punishment and ask for penance without being recognised. Rest assured, although costumes are still there, the tradition is now far from what is once was.

Pasos are present in every procession and are unique to Seville. They are highly elaborated lifelike sculptures of Holy scenes, usually made from wood and are carried by costaleros, which are hidden under the structure to give the impression that it is moving by itself. Some  pasos are considered important works of  art.

Usually, the most interesting processions are: La Madruga, of course, El Amor, La Candelaria, Los Panaderos and Los Negritos.

Apart from processions, keep an eye on women wearing a mantille on Maundy Thursday. It’s a traditional costume consisted of a black mid-knee dress and black shoes, a rosary and most importantly, a black lacy scarf worn over a high comb, covering both the head and the shoulders.

This year, Semana Santa is from March 28th to April 4th.
Readers who are attending or have attended this event, please comment!