Seville Traditions: Holy Week

May 6, 2013

Crowds of locals and tourists gather from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday for Holy Week in Seville. Beginning in the Middle Ages, the tradition honors the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ through processions and music.

“They’ve been waiting all year. For them, it’s very important,” said Mónica González Sanz, a local of Seville.

Many brotherhoods participate in the processions. The main feature of a brotherhood’s procession is the paso, a large float-like structure that bears a religious scene. Pasos usually portray a scene of Jesus or the Virgin Mary. The paso is covered in gold, so if rain falls, the procession will not take place. Costaleros shoulder the weight of the pasos and are hidden underneath. Crowds usually talk during the processions, but fall silent as the paso passes.

The most celebrated night of Holy Week is La Madruga, the early hours of Good Friday. Beginning at midnight on Good Friday and going on to midday, it’s considered a high point in the procession. El Silencio proceeds during this time. La Macarena, the most well-known image of the Virgin in Seville, and the Virgin of Triana, are also presented.

“The two Virgin Marys are amongst the most revered and lovely, and they enjoy their own type of spiritual rivalry,” said Catherine Gaa, Sunshine and Siestas blogger.

Gaa recommends that visitors during Holy Week remember to respect spiritual boundaries in Seville. She said that though the city is crowded, visitors cannot push their way to the front of processions.

For an open space to watch the processions, try Plaza del Triunfo, located between the Cathedral and Alcázar of Seville. The Isabel II bridge offers a view of the Brotherhoods of Triana, and candles light the bridge during La Madrugá.

Due to large crowds, arrive early for processions. For La Madrugá specifically, arrive at least two hours early.