Yet another Easter has come and gone. In Seville the Easter celebrations is the most well known and visited in all of Spain. The equivalent of Easter is called Semana Santa, Holy Week. For one week the celebrations bring majesty and grandeur throughout the city.
The preparations for Semana Santa start weeks before the event when twice as many people fill the streets and squares of Seville. Parts of the city are closed off and seats are set up for people to watch the processions. In the nights leading up to Semana Santa they practise their walks for them to be perfect on the day.
From Sunday to Sunday, Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, it’s possible to witness these celebratory events. To make sure you have a good spot it’s best to get there early becayse it’s filled with people who want to see the processions. They start from the brotherhood’s (cofradía) own church, walk down to the Cathedral and then back again. Every brotherhood has their own pasos (floats), followed by nazarenos and the majority are accompanied by brass bands with routes varying between 8 and 14 hours long. Some processions have up to 3000 followers and others a few hundred. No wonder this holiday is bigger than Christmas along with Feria de Abril, which takes place two weeks after.
The floats, pasos, are dedicated to Jesus and Virgin Mary. All pasos are different and depict different scenes from the bible with figures of wood, wax and wire. The Jesus pasos are often in gold and the ones with Mary are usually covered in silver with a crying Mary, sometimes holding her son in her arms.
The floats are carried by costaleros and can weigh up to 2 tons. This means each costalera may carry up to 50 kg and will be walking up to 8-14 hours. The processions also consist of nazarenos (penitents) who hide their faces in order to anonymously repent. Their capes, which have similarities to Ku Kux Klan but certainly have no connection, come in all different colours. They normally carry a long candle stick or a cross.
Should you be interested and have tradition in you blood, it’s possible to reserve a seat. The seats are placed along the official path, starting at La Campana and through the inner city all the way to the Cathedral. All processions go through the Cathedral, but walk different ways back to their church.
If it’d rain during Semana Santa, the processions are cancelled. Instead, people would have to go to each church to see the different pasos. This year we were lucky with the weather, clear blue skies and not a spot of rain!