Famous for being one of the most impressive celebrations of the year, Easter in Spain is all about huge processions, lots of people, traditions and unique atmosphere. And one of the cities renowned for celebrating in total splendour the Holy Week, or Semana Santa in Spanish, is Sevilla, the capital of Andalucía.
If planning a trip to Seville, here is the list of the main events in the days to follow:
Holy Wednesday, or today, is a very popular day, in which the eve of festive crowds the streets. Holy Wednesday in Seville offers processions with beautiful figures of the passion of Christ and scenes of great visual impact.
Holy Thursday is a day of great affluence of public, eve of the exciting early morning. Lots of atmosphere in the streets and very revered processions. Women wear the traditional black mantilla dress.
The Madrugá is most intense night of the Sevillian Holy Week, with some of the most popular and venerated processions. El Gran Poder, La Macarena, La Esperanza de Triana and others, make up one of the most exciting and long evenings in the city.
Holy Friday, Central Day of the Mysteries, offers processions of great beauty such as The Christ of the Good Death, The Road or The Three Falls among others.
Holy Saturday and Resurrection Sunday have solemn processions and with an influx of minor public, at least of Sevillians, many of whom take the opportunity to leave the city.
More About Semana Santa de Sevilla
Holy Week in Seville is known as Semana Santa de Sevilla, and it is one of the city’s two biggest annual festivals, the other being the Feria de Abril (April Fair), which follows two weeks later. It features the procession of pasos, floats of lifelike wooden sculptures of individual scenes of sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, or images of the grieving Virgin Mary.
Some of the sculptures are of great antiquity and are considered artistic masterpieces, as well as being culturally and spiritually important to the local Catholic population.
The processions of Holy Week in Seville are organized by brotherhoods or brotherhoods. Each brotherhood processes in a given day, time and itinerary, without there being two that have the same route. The procession consists basically of Nazarenes and one, two or three “steps”, which are religious images that are placed in beautiful ornate structures and that are carried by weight by a group of people called costaleros.
Some brotherhoods travel very long and with thousands of Nazarenes and others that do not leave the historic center and handle more modest figures. There are also more popular processions and more relaxed atmosphere and other very serious in which silence and recollection draws the visitor’s attention. In general, the darker the tunic of the Nazarenes, the more serious the brotherhood is, without prejudice to the fact that seriousness and respect for rituals and religious symbols is a norm throughout the week.
The processions are usually held in the afternoon and evening, having as peak time from 7 pm to 1 or 2 am, except on the night of the “madrugá”, whose action begins on 1 a.m. and ends about 12 o’clock the next day.
The value of a brotherhood is measured by its tradition, by the quality and age of its images, by the expertise of the team of bearers and by the skill with which they coordinate with a good musical band. The good fan of Holy Week looks for the special moments and the most picturesque corners.
Holy Week is a period of maximum influx of visitors in Seville. If you want to visit any of the great monuments it is essential to book a guided tour or a ticket without queues. There may be restricted access to certain monuments such as the Cathedral, Giralda or the Alcázar.
Cover photo: Sevilla ABC