We had arrived in Sevilla. The place everyone had told us to avoid in Semana Santa. We were staying in what turned out to be the most beautiful room in an apartment we found on AirBnB. Upon leaving the coach station we were already seeing lots of nazarenos, dressed in their cone shaped hoods, getting ready for the processions. The middle of all the streets were covered in wax from the processions of the night before and it wasn’t long before groups started to gather in preparation for their upcoming 12 hour procession. The city simply didn’t sleep for the 5 days we were there. Whilst tourists continued to explore during the mornings and early afternoons, the locals later emerged in the late afternoons, smartly dressed with men in suits and ties despite the 40°C temperatures. It was impossible not to notice the familial atmosphere, with families gathering outside cervecerias socialising and watching their children whilst cousins and brothers and sisters played together in the streets and plazas.
(Father and Son getting ready for a procession)
As dusk fell the streets became crowded with people awaiting the night’s processions. Those dedicated to the spectacle had booked tickets in advanced and were already sitting in the reserved stands outside the cathedral. Others sat on the pavements, the week’s programme booklet in hand, anticipating when the main floats were going to pass. The processions continued late into the night, with road and pavements blocked off, operating designated crossroads to pass through during breaks in the processions. It was incredible to see so many people, families all together, watching, socialising and reflecting. Those carrying the pasos were held in high regard, respected for their hard work and dedication. Children proudly carried candles through the streets following in the footsteps of their parents who were often part of the procession too. Some even when barefoot on the scorching pavement in an attempt to feel some of the suffering that Christ would have gone through on his way to the Cross. Having been brought up a Catholic the processions were truly impressive to see, with the dedication of those participating and watching really quite moving.
(A man goes barefoot whilst taking part in a procession)
Whilst taking in this special event we were also busy exploring and appreciating what Sevilla had to offer as a city. The plaza mayor was truly the most beautiful and grand that I have seen. The edge was lined with tiled maps of each of the cities in Spain, whilst a fountain in the middle of the plaza caught the sun and couples rowed in the surrounding lake. As if that wasn’t enough, it is situated in a beautiful park with offered some shade from the strong sun.
(The beautiful Plaza Mayor)
(The map of Madrid, my current home)
(Orense, the city closest to Os Peares, which provided me with a truly memorable experience)
(The fountain catching the sun in the Plaza Mayor)
It was without doubt that I left Sevilla in love with the city. It was beautiful. All the warnings beforehand had made us apprehensive but I am convinced that visiting during Semana Santa only made our visit to the city even better. Not only were we able to explore, but also to experience one of the most important festivals in Spain in the city in which it is most important. The way I see it, we couldn’t have been more lucky.