Semana Santa, or the Holy Week, is around the corner. The religious processions through the city that take place the week of Easter will this year start on the twelfth and end on the twentyfirst of April, which is later than most years.
If you’ve never experienced it or never even heard of it, Semana Santa might surprise you with its importance and size. This holiday is the biggest religious affair in all of Spain and sees thousands of people from all over the world, but mostly locals, crowd the narrow streets of Seville to watch several processions as they cross the city. The processions consist of people belonging to brotherhoods of different churches – these brotherhoods are basically groups of people so devoted to their church and their religion that they want to take part in what they see as the holiest event there is. They walk the streets carrying giant statues – floats – of saints, depicting various images from the Bible. Some choose to walk barefoot, to better repent from their sins.
A special kind of ‘sinners’ are Nazarenos, people who do not wish to be seen while repenting, and covering their whole bodies in special uniforms (that, surprisingly, really have nothing to do with the KKK. Seriously. Just a coincidence. I’ve been told.). Nazarenos, knowing that their mysterious clothing looks more than slightly off-putting, give out candies to children. Yup. That’s a thing.
Each procession has around three pasos – floats that depict the images from the Passion of Christ. Each day, beginning on the last Friday before Easter week and ending on Eastern Sunday, sees several of the brotherhoods and their processions. They start in their churches and walk to the cathedral, then turning back and going home again. The difference in distance means that some of the processions take up to twelve hours.
The pasos you can see are, for example, Maria holding Jesus in her arms after he’s been let down from the cross, or Macarena, the saint of Seville, the biggest and most sought after procession of the whole holiday.
Semana Santa is without a doubt a unique and beautiful look into the roots of Christianity, and into the life of Sevillanos. If you’re lucky and find yourselves close to Seville around Easter, we highly recommend visiting the city and seeing it for yourself. If you do, don’t forget to check out our tours for the quickest overlook of Seville!