Holy Week Seville A Tourist’s Perspective

So for the second post about Holy Week in Seville I’ll tell you what it was like the first time I saw it, like a tourist.

I arrived in Seville 2 weeks before Holy Week, the small of orange blossom inundated the streets, it was only overpowered by the smell of incense (and horse shit by the cathedral).
Around the City Hall and Cathedral chairs are set up for those with euros to spare to see the “Pasos” comfortably.

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I had to quickly learn what the procession was about and some terms that it would prove handy, such as:

  • Pasos: each of the groups of Nazarenos, preceded by a cross “Cruz Guia”, a band before each “Palio”
  • Palio: each of the canopies within a paso, usually 2, 1 with a Christ and 1 with the Virgin.
  • Costalero: each of the men carrying the “Palio”, palios are really heavy.
  • Carrera Oficial: although every “Paso” comes from a different church all over Seville, they all converge in 2 streets, Sierpes and Avenida de la Constitucion. All pasos must bring their palios through the Cathedral and then return to their churches.
  • Saetas: a song that it’s sung to a christ or virgin.

Once we know the terms let’s get down to business, I like to appreciate art and the palios are a work of art, many of those wooden status are older than American history, the intricacy of the fabric used, generally embroidered in gold or silver, all hand-made. It’s a work of art parading around the city.
Of all the pasos I’ve seen the most “touching”, yeah because art touches you, were La Macarena and Jesus del Gran Poder, opposites  La Macarena, it’s a street party, it’s the virgin of Seville, a true diva. Jesus del Gran Poder in the other side, it’s sublime, quiet, nobody utters a word, lights of the streets are turned off and the only thing you can see are the candles that the Nazarenos are carrying, when the saeta starts you get goosebumps.
An experience worth seeing if you are around, regardless if you are believer or not, art must be appreciated for what it is specially when it’s a cultural experience and brings so many people together.

Now I’ll share some videos for you to have an idea of what it’s like, videos do not make justice to the show that Holy Week in Seville is tho.

Saeta to Virgen de La Macarena

Nazarenos Gran Poder

Macarena under a rain of rose petals

Pictures courtesy of Esveno. 

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