Semana Santa in the South of Spain

Six years ago I spent Semana Santa, or Holy Week, traveling the south of Spain with my good friend Camila. She and I had a week off from classes and decided to take a train down to Malaga, Granada and Sevilla for one of the best and most beautiful weeks of my entire study abroad experience. The weather in Santiago de Compostela had been miserable and cold for the entire month of March, so when we got down to warm and sunny Sevilla we really felt like we had gone to heaven for holy week. Andalucia might as well be an entirely different country from Galicia – the weather, culture, food and dialect were all completely different from what we had been experiencing in SdC up north. We went to the beach in Malaga, visited the Alhambra in Granada and went to a Good Friday service in the cathedral of Sevilla. It was definitely one of the most colorful areas of the world I’ve been to, right up there with Valparaiso, Chile. The buildings were all blue, pink, purple, yellow, green and the Andalusian architecture was breathtaking. Seis anos atras, pase Semana Santa viajando por el sur de Espana con mi Buena amiga Camila. Teniamos una semana de sin clases y decidimos tomar un tren con destino a Malaga, Granada, y Sevilla para pasar una de las mas lindas y mejores semana de toda mi experiencia estudiando en el extranjero. El tiempo en Santiago de Compostela habia estado malisimo y super frio durante todo el mes de Marzo, asi que cuando llegamos a las soleada y caliente Sevilla, en verdad sentimos como si hubiesemos ido al paraiso durante Semana Santa. Andalucia puede verse como un pais completamente distinto a Galicia – el tiempo, la cultura, la comida, y el dialecto son totalmente diferentes de lo que habiamos vivido en el norte en Santiago. Fuimos a la playa en Malaga, visitamos la Alhambra en Granda y fuimos a la misa de Viernes Santo en la catedral de Sevilla. Era definitivamente uno de los lugares mas coloridos del mundo, que yo habia visitado, a la misma altura de Valparaiso, Chile. Los edificios eran todos azules, rosados, morados, amarillos, verdes y la arquitectura Andaluza te quitaba el eliento.


inside the cathedral on Good Friday
the cathedral

Me and Camila lounging in the Parque de Maria Luisa – six years ago today
at the plaza de españa in Sevilla
from the balcony in our hostel – this was our view for the processions!
We didn’t see any bullfights or flamenco performances, but the Holy Week parades were crazy. Holy Week is one of the most important traditions in Sevilla and the whole city spends the week watching the different processions that various holy brotherhoods organize, complete with ornate floats and music. Some of the processions go on for as long as 14 hours, and people line the streets until the wee hours of the morning watching the participants go by. Camila and I had an amazing view from our balcony for the processions on Thursday and Friday nights – it was quite an experience. The robes may look like KKK garb (which sucks for me because my cultural memory relates men wearing tall pointy hoods with violence and hatred) but they are actually wearing penitential robes with hoods, each with the color that corresponds to their brotherhood. Many of them walk barefoot for the entire procession as a form of public penance. It was quite an experience for us! No vimos ninguna corrida de toros o presentaciones de flamenco, pero las paradas de Semana Santa fueron locura. Semana Santa es una de las tradiciones mas importantes de Sevilla y toda la ciudad pasa la semana entera viendo las distintas procesiones que las diferentes hermandades organizan, completas con carros alegoricos y musica. Algunas de las procesiones duraban hasta 14 horas, y la gente se alinea en las calles hasta altas horas de noche para ver a los participantes pasar. Camila y yo teniamos una vista excelente desde el balcon para las procesiones del Jueve y Viernes – fue una gran experiencia. Las tunicas pueden parecer algo a las del KKK pero en realidad eran solo tunicas de penitencia con gorro, cada una con un color distintivo a cada hermandad. Muchos de ellos caminan descalzos la procesion completa como penitencia publica. Fue genial para nosotras!

the crowd – we were stuck in this swarm of people for an hour!
that is one tired marching band – this is one of the processions that lasted 14 hours (I think we caught up with them at around 2AM when there were "fewer" people out – and by fewer I mean hundreds instead of thousands)

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