Semana Santa

As the festivities of Semana Santa begin, I thought I would give you a scenic glance as to what occurs each year for it.

It’s one of the most important celebrations in Seville and is celebrated in the week leading up to Easter. The integral event of these celebrations are the processions of the pasos (elaborate floats representing Christ and other related events). Many of the churches have a procession of pasos (floats) of life-like statues of Christ, events like the last supper, images of the grieving Virgin Mary, etc. They start at their home church and are suppose to proceed to the Cathedral of Seville and then return to their home church. There’s a group of men called the “brotherhood” (la hermandad) who lead these processions (“procesiones” or “cofradias”). There are hundreds of them (varies by brotherhood – some have more members than others – 100 or more). About 70 (more or less) different brotherhoods participate in these processions. These men are specifically selected to carry the pasos (floats) and care for them before, during, and after Semana Santa. They all have to move in a synchronized manner in order for the procession to go well. The pasos are made of wood and are heavy.

One of the most well known groups or denominations of these processions are a group of men wearing tall pointed hats (capirotes) and long gowns (habits). This group is called the Nazarenes (nazarenos). We Americans would recognize it as an infamous uniform in our not so distant history (I won’t mention it as my intent is not to offend anyone). However, before I proceed, I would advise that you get any and all negative images out of your head immediately of the Nazarenos. They have nothing to do with “said” group. The tall pointed hats are a representation of bringing them closer to heaven.

Each church/denomination has variations on their traditions with these processions. However the processions generally begin with the cruz de guia (the guided cross), following behind are people bearing lanterns, then the nazarenos and penintentes, and finally the part many are familiar with, the pasos (usually 2 or 3) with each depicting Christ and or the Virgin Mary. There are different depictions. These can processions last into the depths of the morning (it depends on the church). Some processions are completely silent without music, while others have choirs.

Semana Santa is celebrated in other parts of Spain, but is most known and celebrated in Andalucia, the southern part of Spain.

¡Feliz Semana Santa!

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