In Seville, all spirits come alive during the holy week-La Semana Santa. The week before Easter(late March to early April), people in white cloaks and face-covering cones walk down the narrow roads of Seville towards the main cathedral, while crowds laugh and chatter. Starting on Psalm Sunday, Nazarenos carry giant candles, and biblical figures, walking in funeral-like strides. This Christ related tradition has come to represent the religious and secular spirits of Spain. In its origin in the 15th century, the festival has served as a visual compilation to different parts of the Bible. In the present days, people gather to reconnect and bond with neighbors whether you are religious or not.
The festival has its root in the crucifixion and the resurrection of Christ. Therefore, large floats called Pasos carry figures of the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ. Pasos can also contain the scenery of the last supper, or the twelve disciples. Usually, men called Costaleros carry the float in sync on their shoulders for the aesthetic of the biblical figures walking. Costaleros consider carrying Pasos as an incredible honor. The floats are accompanied by drums and music, with Nazarenos dressed in white cloaks and cone like hats. The crowds are dressed respectfully, often in their Sunday best.
Although the event celebrates the resurrection, the festival started in 1521, when Marques de Tarifa returned to Spain from the Holy Land and insisted on the stations of the cross being celebrated. It advanced in the 17th century when Spanish brotherhoods organized themselves into groups. In modern days, the festival identifies the city. Furthermore, the celebration boosts its economy. Hotel rooms are fully booked, and the economical impact is up to $351 million. The city officials claim that this 450 years old tradition is not waning, instead it connects multiple generations to their homes.
If you’re from Seville, La Semana Santa will reconnect you with the beautiful city. If not, as a tourist no matter how religious, a week in Seville during Semana Santa can be a great opportunity to learn Spanish, and their culture- while having fun!