Monday, May 30, 2011

Reflections on Semana Santa

April 17 - 24

I had been in London with Laura for the first part of Semana Santa (Holy Week).  But, I returned on Thursday, April 19 for what was, according to many, the best day of week.  Sevilla is known for the destination in Europe for Holy Week.  Each local brotherhood, or church, has its own set of floats: one of the statue of Jesus, and the other of the Virgin Mary.  They parade the streets accompanied by "nazarenos," cone-headed coaked figures that to Americans resemble the KKK.  A marching band follows playing the haunting music of Semana Santa.  The Catholic community of Spain and of Europe come to Sevilla for the magnificence of the parades.  The seats set up in the city center are a hot commodity as each parade ultimately enters the Catedral via the same Avenida de la Constiuci√≥n.  Between Holy Week and the following Feria de Abril, Sevilla earns over fifteen percent of its annual income.  

Although the most powerful parades occur on the Thursday of Semana Santa, I was not so lucky this time around.  It was raining nonstop in Sevilla that week; it was a complete wash out.  London, where I had been, was curiously dry and sunny.  The city center of Sevilla was a ghost town of empty chairs.  A few locals still came out. With their umbrellas in hand, they were in denial of the disaster.  For the first time in about eighty years, the Thursday parades were cancelled.  Just the year I come to Sevilla.  Disappointing, but no worries.  Considering my luck overall, I could not complain too much. 

I was able to see the one that parades the streets for Easter, called the Resurrection.  You may think this one is special, but compared to the Thursday parades, it is a side note.  It was certainly special enough for me.  I was struck by the music and the visual effect of the floats and nazarenos.  It was powerful.  The tone of the Resurrection parade is much more upbeat compared to the rest of the week. I watched as first the Jesus float (above) and then the Mary float (below) entered the Catedral.

I was then joined my Clara and Nicole for Easter Mass at the Catedral.  It was fascinating to see the service in the third largest cathedral in Europe.  I enjoyed the music, the words spoken in Spanish, and seeing the communion. 

To see pictures of the parades, see "Semana Santa - 4-17 - 4-24" at

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