Semana Sancta

By Tony Norman

Holy Week in Spain is something really special and the most special city of all for Holy Week is Seville.

Tourists or pilgrims from all over the world descend on the city and add over half a million people to the population.  Vicky and I were two of that number in Seville in 2019. We were warned that it would be crowded and it certainly was. 

Why do so many people go there?  It is probably because of the reputation that has built up over the many years since the confradas or guilds have processed in the footsteps of their ancestors. These days, the representation of certain moments of the Passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ take place in an atmosphere of devotion and religious fervour, amongst exquisite imagery in art and gold.

Processional floats with life size images of Jesus and Mary along with music bands form a very special procession running from different parts of the city to the Holy Cathedral Church.  In each procession is carried a cross near the front and after numerous processors dressed in robes designed to preserve their anonymity, comes A Paso.

The floats in the procession are carried by up to forty strong men who bear the weight on the back of their shoulders and The Paso may weigh up to two tons.  Some very precious ones were made as long ago as the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, but most are from the twentieth century. They are however for fine weather only and are not brought out on to the streets if it is raining.

Many hundreds of the Sevillanos have designated seats alongside the processional routes and these are bought and kept for many years. The rest of the population have to fight for their vantage point to see the procession.  Alternatively they may wish to watch The Paso on a local terrestrial television channel instead.

A visit to Seville in Holy week is a perhaps a once in a lifetime experience.