Semana Santa in Seville is one of the most impressive cultural events in Spain, with people travelling from far and wide to witness the religious pomp and ceremony that takes place for a full 9 days! From a religious, artistic, historical or folkloric perspective, this is perhaps the most glorious week in Seville’s and in Spain’s festive calendar. The experience is very difficult to put into words. But I’ll do my best to sum it up in a few lines!
The city of Seville has just over 70 “Hermandades” (religious brotherhoods) that partake in Holy Week. A brotherhood is essentially a group or association of Christians united by an image of the Virgin, Christ, a Saint or a scene from the passion of Christ. Each brotherhood undertakes a parade of penance on a certain day at a certain time, in accordance with Seville’s complex Easter week calendar and timetable.
Imagine that on each day, an average of 8 or 9 brotherhoods take to the streets with their religious floats, bands and hundreds of penitents. Some of the bigger brotherhoods take up to 90 minutes to pass you by! And some of the longest processions can last up to 15 hours from when they leave their parish to when they return. The city centre of Seville is converted into a complex maze, reminiscent of a kind of religious pac-man, with multiple processions simultaneously winding their way through the streets in an attempt to reach the cathedral and then return to their parishes. Hundreds of thousands of locals and visitors alike hit the streets to watch the spectacle in all its glory. You could almost be reminded of a kind of Christian carnival, celebrated and venerated with solemn respect and expectation.
” Semana Santa in Seville is one of the most impressive cultural events in Spain “
For me, Easter week is a “must see” in Seville. But I must admit that it can be very full-on and often claustrophobic if you aren’t prepared for it or if you happen to find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time! The most popular way to watch it all unfold is from the comfort of a private balcony. Depending on the location, day of the week and number of processions that pass by, balconies can often cost many hundreds or even thousands of euros.
This year we decided to go a step further and show our visitors Semana Santa in style! We carefully selected a handful of private balconies, dotted around Seville and located at key points on the routes of various Brotherhoods. We arranged catering of food and drink, local hosts and Semana Santa experts to welcome our guests and immerse them in Easter week from the comfort of their VIP vantage point. The feedback from our clients was fantastic! Far removed from the hustle and bustle, the sore backs and the general chaos on the streets, our visitors listened intently to the explanations of their guides, watched the processions pour past and could almost touch the carvings of the Christs and Virgins as they squeezed by our first-floor locations! Washed down with Spanish wine, local delicacies and excellent company, each experience was a resounding success!
For 2017 we hope to repeat these tailormade experiences along with a number of other ideas. Next year promises insider’s access to some of the most important parishes, brotherhoods and artisans workshops including artists, sculptors and gilders! Watch this space!