Seville´s Holy Week
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Seville´s Holy Week

Seville´s Holy Week is probably one of Spain´s most famous cultural and religious festivals with a national and international reputation. Thousands of tourists flock to the Andalusian city of Seville every year to personally see the processions which take place during this celebration while also enjoying the numerous other complementary activities.

Members of the Brotherhoods
Although the Holy Week traditions date back to the 16th century, the religious reasons for celebrating them still exist today since the veneration of the death and passion of Christ are the main themes which underpin Holy week´s well-known processions. The processions are carried out by members of the brotherhoods, who are always divided into the following groups:

  • Nazarenos: They accompany the processions´ floats (pasos).
  • Costaleros: They are the people who carry the floats, a group of them is needed because of the size and weight of each float.
  • Capataz: The person who directs the costaleros and who is in charge of leading the procession.

Similarly, the Holy Week processions in Seville also share some common elements:

  • Pasos: Floats with evocative images and sculptures of Christ, his death and his passion. Each brotherhood usually has a minimum of 1 and a maximum of 3.
  • Cruz de guía: It is carried at the front of the procession and sometimes it causes a stir because of its intricate workmanship and the embroidered design of the costume of the nazareno bearing it.
  • Libro de reglas: ( the Statute book of the brotherhoods): It contains the statutes of the Brotherhoods and it is usually has a lot of silver decoration.
  • Estandarte: ): (Insignia) A standard which represents the Brotherhood
  • Senatus: The roman insignia.
  • Bocinas: Decorative trumpets

The main reason why so much excitement surrounds Seville´s  Holy Week processions is because of the costumes chosen by the people who actively take part in them, which are often richly embroidered, decorated and ornamented, and because of the work of the sculptors displayed on the floats (pasos).

When Holy week is celebrated in Seville.
There are about ten brotherhoods and their processions and events are spread over the different days of Holy Week:

  • Friday of Sorrows Palm Sunday
  • Holy Monday
  • Holy Tuesday
  • Holy Wednesday
  • Maundy Thursday
  • La Madrugá”(The early morning, beginning at midnight on Maundy Thursday and ending with dawn on Good Friday)
  • Good Friday
  • Holy Saturday
  • Easter Sunday

There is a very high chance that you will get to see some of Seville´s processions both in the morning and in the afternoon because there are so many of them with the streets and balconies around the processions´ routes filling with people. However, the most important one of all is the so-called “Madrugá”, which recalls Pilate´s judgment over Christ, his torture, his condemnation and his procession carrying the cross to Calvary.

Unlike on the others days, during the “Madrugá”the brotherhoods carry out their processions in order of seniority, and therefore the Silencio Brotherhood ( la Hermandad del Silencio) passes by first.