Semana Santa

Semana Santa is a weeklong festival leading up to Easter Sunday that began in response to the Black Death (la peste negra), which between 1348-1350 had killed one third of the population in Europe.  Originally this festival intended to appease God and to do this, nazarenos would participate in self-flagellation to reenact how Jesus amargura_nazarenos_diario_ssuffered.  These nazarenos wear triangular hoods to maintain their anonymity because it was believed that only God should be aware of their sacrifice. Self-flagellation is no longer practiced publicly in Seville, rather, the nazarenos hand out candy to children, almost like a moving Halloween.  It has also becimagesome very popular for children to develop giant wax balls from the dripping wax of the candles that the nazarenos carry.  Children will make these wax balls larger and larger throughout the week, although there does not appear to be a particular reason for why this tradition exists.  Behind the many nazarenos are the pasos, which are carried by an average of 40 costaleros.  Many of these pasos are the originals from the 15th and 16th centuries. IMG_2657Unfortunately, if it is raining or is forecasted to rain these beautiful pasos are forced to be postponed or even canceled due to their antiquity.  These beautiful pasos have incredible beeswax designs and during the night, there are many candles lit during the procession.  The processions themselves can last from three to twelve hours depending on how many nazarenos there are. Thursday processions go well inimgresto the next morning (Good Friday) and for this day in particular, many of the woman are dressed in a traditional outfit called mantillas.  These mantillas are long black veils and are worn to solely on solemn occasions such as during Semana Santa, or for funerals. Sometimes these processions are held in complete silence, others have music, and some even have flower petals thrown over the pasos.  There is a very famous song type called las saetas that are sung from balconies as the pasos approach.  All of these processions go throughout Seville, however, all of them go through the Cathedral before they return to their church.Attached is a brief video of Semana Santa in Seville.

By jmsylvester

Hispanic Studies Major.