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Holy Week in Sevilla

Holy Week – Semana Santa in Sevilla

The Holy Week or Semana Santa is the most important religious festival in Seville, and depending on the ecclesiastical calendar it is celebrated in either March or April. From Palm Sunday until Easter Sunday, the city takes on a more spiritual air, and the various cofradias of fraternities do penance in the traditional long hooded robes of the nazarenos while they accompany the numerous processions. The sculptures carried on the procession floats are genuine works of art by baroque artistes. They are carried on the shoulders of the so called costaleros, whose slow arduous gait gives and impression of Christ or de Virgin Mary in movement. Along the route saetas may be heard, which are a form of sung prayer sung by an anonnymus singer. In short, Semana Santa is the manifestation of the religious fervour of a people.

Program and order in the parade processions Holy Week in Seville . pdf


    Las Hermandades Brotherhoods of Seville started from the seventeenth century who founded the Santo Entierro “Entombment”, after the reconquest of Seville by King Fernando III “The Saint”. From this moment for four centuries founded brotherhoods begin to coincide with a large school of carvers during the Baroque such as Martinez Montanes, Juan de Mesa and others … Most of them belong to professional sectors during the sixteenth and seventeenth century were forbidden to meet and taking advantage of the foundation of brotherhoods, these had freedom of assembly in the different churches; so  they have its own brotherhood Museum, founded by the guild of silversmiths, the Brotherhood of the Negritos that bound black slaves in 1500 whom lived in large numbers in Seville, La Carretería founded by Coopers, La Macarena by gardeners , La Esperanza de Triana by fishermen and sailors, Los Panaderos by bakers, etc…

    The first brotherhood that has its own chapel is the Museum of Brotherhoods. The mercenaries whose convent was the current Museum of Fine Arts of Seville, sold a small plot in the form of “shopping”, in whose place the current chapel was built. During the century past, most of them have built their own chapels, as they constantly arose friction between the parish priests and the proprietary church congregations.

    The season of penance during Easter formerly was not governed by time and headed around their neighborhoods and some of them marched to “Cruz del Campo” whose monument now still exists at Avenida Luis Montoto next to the brewery that bears his name. It is from the late sixteenth century when all the brotherhoods of penance agree to walk to the Holy Cathedral Church without timetables or official career, as today is unified; thereafter a strict order of seniority is established, exp.: the oldest brotherhood is the last in the procession order on its way to the cathedral and the newly created brotherhoods come to occupy first place in the order assigned to the procession.

    The first Brotherhood of Triana walking in procession to the cathedral of Seville is the “O”, crossing a pontoon bridge linking Triana with the area near Plaza de Armas where the brotherhoods made penance to the Church of Santa Ana, known as the Trianera Cathedral.

    Current brotherhoods have gone through many vicissitudes, lack of economic means, fires, destruction of all its heritage, the civil war… getting from the eighteenth and nineteenth century the union of two or more of them and then set the current Brotherhood.
    There has been a huge explosion in neighborhoods formed after the civil war, where large population lives in the city and have joined a lot of Sevillanos to these brotherhoods, enjoying today an important heritage.
    The Brotherhoods of the center of Seville’s old town, survive thanks to the family tradition of parents, whom sign up their children at birth, the family members can share different brotherhoods: with parents and with friends, depending as well on the neighborhood where they live.

    Cardinal of Seville is who grant to the brotherhoods the title of Brotherhood of Penance, but this does not mean they can go out in procession during Holy Week, is the general counsel of brotherhoods who has the last word in this matter. There are cases that take more than 30 years being brotherhoods of penance and general counsel of brotherhoods are not supported on the procession of Easter.


    Pasos: (Latin: passus, ‘scene, suffering’)? is the name given to the images parading on Easter processions.

    Palio: metal structure and fabric covering on columns generally virgin image, but there are places where this element of the step is not exclusive of virgins and also appears on the steps and thrones of Christ. Other elements of the palio are:

    • Varal bars or pallium: it is the columns supporting the canopy step or throne. They can be prepared in chiseled metal or wood or metal rods coated with silver or gold guns and knots. The bars are attached to the table of step with a base at the bottom.
    • Bambalina and roof canopy: Cloths usually richly embroidered velvet or mesh that form the roof and canopy Falls


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