Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Semana Santa- Seville, Spain

Semana Santa is the religious celebration leading up to Easter. The celebrations are carried out over the month leading up to Easter and they occur all throughout Spain. Holy week in Seville, however, is the largest, most well know of the celebrations.

(Tip- watch the processions from the Dona Maria Hotel rooftop bar. Access to the bar is free, and it apparently wasn't very well know, as we got a seat right up against the edge.)

The core events are the processions of the brotherhoods, through the streets of Seville, from their home church or chapel to the Cathedral and back.

A procession can be made up from a few hundred to near 3,000 Nazarenos and last anywhere from 4 to 14 hours, depending how far the home church is from the Cathedral. The largest processions can take over an hour and a half to cross one particular spot.

Each procession includes two ornate floats which are the main attractions. The first one being of Jesus in a scene from the Passion, and the second float is typically of Mary. Each float can weight over a metric ton, and are physically carried by 12-15 strong men. This is why the processions take so long, because even if their church is only ¼ mile from the cathedral, the men have to take frequent breaks due to the weight of each float.

Why don’t they just put the floats on wheels?I asked the same question! Carrying the float symbolises the pain and suffering Jesus incurred while carrying his cross. Carrying the float is considered a small sacrifice to what Jesus endured.

Strictly speaking this is a religious festival, but for most of the week it is a major party- however not a party like freshman year of college, more like a family reunion. Entire families of Sevillanos, including grandparents and small children, will hang out at the bars all day long and into the early mornings, 3:00 or 4:00am. Brett and I were walking back to our hotel one night at 12:30 and walked by many older women 80+ years still hanging out at the bars.

What is with their crazy outfits?!

As most of my followers are American, I am sure that these pictures are quite shocking to see, as it reminds us of a very negative part of our history. Seeing a white hood and a white cloak spawns similar feelings as the swastika.

However this tradition of the hood and cloak has existed in Spain for hundreds of years. So we know that it carries a completely different meaning in Spain than it does in America.

The cone shaped hood is supposed to symbolise a rising toward the heavens and therefore bring their presence closer to the heavens. Additionally, their covered faces symbolise a united mankind.

Seville was amazing and I highly recommend going during Semana Santa as you really got to see Spanish culture at its finest. For the most part, the spectators were all Spanish, which proves that this is a very proud festival for Spaniards.

Have you ever visited Seville? What was your favorite part?
Thanks for reading guys! 
Cheers- Mary


  1. This was so informative!!! Awesome post!

    1. Thanks so much, Trisha!! I'm so glad you enjoyed reading it! <3 <3

  2. What an amazing thing to witness!