{Old Post} Semana Santa…qué es esto?

**This is a post that I wrote while studying abroad in Spain as a junior in college. It originally appears here on a travel blog I started but didn’t keep up. In the spirit of Easter and Holy Week, I wanted to re-post it on my current blog so that it could get more exposure. I also was remembering how unique and special celebrating Holy Week around the whole country of Spain and wanted to share part of my experience with all of my current readers. Feliz Pascua / Happy Easter, everyone!**

Bienvenidos a todos a Semana Santa!

I know it’s mid-way into “Holy Week,” but an update about it now is better than never right? I’ve been out enjoying the festivities and hanging with my friends (both American and Sevillian) so that’s why I didn’t start writing about it in the beginning of the week. And besides, who wants to sit inside all day doing homework or blogging when there is fantastic weather to enjoy and orange blossoms to be breathed in…and did I mention the festivities of Semana Santa, oh, yeah, I did. haha But what are they and what exactly is Semana Santa? Keep reading and you will find out.

This week though is my first of two spring breaks but it’s most commonly known as Holy Week for Spain. The week before Easter is really important to Catholics but in Spain they celebrate it religiously. Every church has a float that they carry on their backs through the streets and back to the respective church were it belongs. Each float tells the story of Jesus’ last week on Earth as it leads up to His Resurrection. The floats weigh like a ton too! For me as a foreigner and a born-again believer it’s neat to see these processions–even though I don’t agree with a lot of things in Catholicism or see the need to be so focused on rituals like these.

Tomorrow morning is supposed to be the most important part of Semana Santa because it’s the day before Good Friday and these processions will tell the trial and betrayal of Christ. All of these floats are like worshiped here (especially the ones of the Virgin) and I don’t like that, but it’s still neat to be a part of it.
My adopted city, Sevilla, has the best floats in the country so people from around the world come here to see them. I’m so thankful that I live here and I’m not a traveler!

I will post pictures and videos on Facebook if you keep up with me on there, but the picture below is a picture of “los nazarenos” or members of the KKK as we Americans may think they are. But trust me, they are not–they’re just Sevillanos! They are actually just members from each individual church (both men and women) who march in front of their float (la cofradia) with candles.

Semana Santa (Holy Week, Palm Sunday) in Cádiz 2010; many nazarenos are needed to carry the float!
Semana Santa in Cádiz 2010; others walk ahead of and behind the float.
Semana Santa (en Sevilla) 2010; nazarenos marching. Each church has different colors and symbols that represent their parish.

It’s like a pilgrimage for them because they lead their float all throughout the city and some do not wear shoes (as a part of penance) because participating in the processions is a very personal journey for them.

Semana Santa (in Sevilla at night) 2010; the Crucifixion.
Semana Santa (in Sevilla) 2010; the Crucifixion from behind.

The following pictures are of one of the most elaborate floats I have seen so far. The church in which it came from is also just a few minutes from my apartment! It looked incredible!!

Semana Santa (in Sevilla) 2010; float of a Virgin (will add name later).
Semana Santa (in Sevilla) 2010; la Virgen…look at how ornate and detailed this float is!

And lastly, each float was followed by a group of musicians who would usually play trumpets very loudly and proudly. Like the group of young people below.

Semana Santa (in Sevilla) 2010; Musicians marching through el centro.

Hope you enjoy the pics and that the nazarenos don’t startle you! 🙂

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