Semana Santa 2011

only in Sevilla…

Next week is Semana Santa (Holy Week) in Sevilla, starting on Palm Sunday, April 17th. For those who haven’t experienced, or don’t know about it, it’s all about the processions – more than sixty of them during the course of the week, including those of the Madrugá on the Thursday night through to Friday morning. Each procession carries statues of the Christ and the Virgin from its home church to the Cathedral and back again, accompanied by nazarenos and penitentes carrying candles and crosses, and the distinctive music of the Semana Santa marching bands.

Because this is the largest and most elaborate celebration of its kind in the world, people come from all over Spain and even further afield to see it. With such large crowds, especially in the centre and around the cathedral, it is almost impossible for the residents to live normal lives, and for the last 18 years I’ve spent most of Semana Santa pretty much trapped in my flat just up the street from the cathedral. But this year I will be spending it in my new home near the Alfalfa for the first time, and I really don’t know what to expect in the way of crowds and inconvenience.

In retrospect it seems almost prescient that I took this video last year of the Santa Cruz procession, which plays my favourite marcha, the haunting La Madrugá by Abel Moreno. Little did I know that it was going to be the last time I would watch it go past below my bedroom balconies…

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