Semana Santa 2016

ss 16 (2)people waiting for processions, contemplating that other Great Power… 4G

After last year’s “warning” 馃槈 about coming to Sevilla during Semana Santa, followed by the Twitter shit storm inadvertently caused by me posting this photo on Instagram, I am going to stick with a simple photo essay this year. It was a lovely and gentle Semana Santa for me, running into some processions by happenstance, seeking out others on purpose, and generally enjoying the ambiance since most of my time wasn’t spent in La Bulla (the very Sevillano name for the crush of humanity that congregates on the procession routes). And while I’d never actually choose to get caught up in a serious bulla, I have learned over the years that when this happens, just relax and ride it out. Though it does help to know which little side streets will get you off the main route, and after more than 23 years in Sevilla I am quite experienced in “procession dodging” when I actually need to get somewhere. So for Semana Santa 2016 here are 16 pics I took while out and about this week…

ss 16 (1)mini-nazareno

ss 16 (10)the San Bernardo procession in Cuesta del Rosario

ss 16 (14)chairs galore! Plaza San Franciso

ss 16 (13)Cristo de la Fundaci贸n, San Bernardo

ss 16 (12)Los Negritos

ss 16little boy waiting for the next procession

ss 16 (11)group of people from nursing home with “preferred seating” supplied by local bars

ss 16 (9)Virgen de los 脕ngeles, Los Negritos

ss 16 (8)elegant ladies dressed “de luto” (in mourning)

ss 16 (7)Cristo de la Salud, Los Gitanos

ss 16 (5)costaleros taking a break

ss 16 (6)off-duty Centurian posing for pics

ss 16 (15)Mar铆a Sant铆sima de la Esperanza Macarena

ss 16 (4)Cristo de la Expiraci贸n (El Cachorro)

ss 16 (3)
El Cachorro was created in 1682 by Francisco Antonio Ruiz Gij贸n. It depicts Jes煤s at the moment of dying on the cross (Cristo de la Expiraci贸n) and is a splendid and very moving work of art. Legend has it that the artist found a gypsy dying in the street in Triana and his face was the inspiration for his Christ. This is one of my favourite processions though I don’t get to see it every year. Glad I made time for it yesterday.

The longer I live in Sevilla the more I see and read accounts of my beloved adopted city by various expat bloggers living here, or by travel writers passing through, and while some are good and honest accounts (I don’t have to agree with them all) there are also many that are frankly just crap. My feeling is… DON’T write about something you haven’t actually experienced first hand. Also, try to approach your topic with an open mind, not with an already fixed agenda. Sometimes I wonder if some of these travel writers have actually been here. And as for the massive expat community here… as long as you are still calling somewhere else “home”, I wonder if you’ll ever really experience Sevilla – or Spain – other than through foreign eyes looking at a foreign culture. I’ve never thought of anywhere else as “home” since arriving in Spain back in 1992. And while I love showing visitors the joys of Sevilla, I guess also feel very protective. Because it is my only home.

Corpus Christi | San Fernando 2013

A few images from this morning’s Corpus Christi procession. Shortly after I moved to Sevilla (1993) a friend told me that a nice way to enjoy Corpus was to get up extra early and walk the procession route before everything got started. And there is something quite lovely about being out in the cool summer air walking on the rosemary-strewn streets and checking out the altars and decorated balconies and shop windows along the way. Things have changed a bit over the years, most notably that more and more people seem to be doing this so you have to get up even extra early to have the route (mostly) to yourself. And this year I noticed that there were far fewer decorated balconies and shop windows. A result of the Crisis? As I was in Granada for Corpus last year I can only compare it to a couple of years ago.

This year’s celebrations are also exceptional as it is also San Fernando Day. A two-fer! There were also extra events put on by the city council. I have always liked Corpus in Sevilla, especially the rosemary and the “balcones de seda”.

C贸rdoba Feria 2012

[watch full screen if possible]

Some pics from my first visit to the Feria de C贸rdoba. Another fair, like the one in Jerez, that is totally different to the Feria de Sevilla and which, in my opinion, is much better. The casetas are larger (with air con) and are open to the public. Depending on what you fancy you can opt for traditional flamenco music (sevillanas), flamenco rock, salsa, disco… the casetas ranged from fairly rough & ready tents to solid structures decorated like country homes with servers dressed in maid’s outfits. You can get some great looking food, watch the crowds or join in, or stroll the streets and enjoy the parade of horses and carriages in the afternoon.

It really felt like being at a country fair – I even went on the ferris wheel! Too bad we were just there for a couple of hours in the afternoon. I found myself wishing that I could stay to see the fairground lit up at night but duty called and we had tickets booked on the 19.30 train (which we almost missed, arriving at the station with about two minutes to spare).

Note: at 2.44 is the horse of the day – a gorgeous beast, my photo doesn’t do him justice.

Travel tip: the Sevilla – C贸rdoba Avant (19.10鈧 one way)聽 is much better value than the Ave (33.20鈧) and takes the same amount of time (45 minutes). And if you return on the same day you get a 20% discount.

Corpus Cristi 2011

I think Corpus Cristi is my favourite public holiday in Sevilla, taking place the first Thursday after Trinity Sunday (which is 60 days after Easter). There is a procession that starts around 8.30 am and finishes at noon. The night before the procession route is strewn with sprigs of rosemary and flower petals, balconies are draped with silk shawls and flowers, shopkeepers try to outdo each other with bread & wine window displays, and altars large and small are also put up. When I first came to Sevilla I was told by a friend that the best part of Corpus was to get up early and walk the procession route before things got started, when the morning air is still cool and fresh and there aren鈥檛 too many people around. I have done this many times and always love it. The smell of the rosemary, los balcones de seda…

[click on thumbnails to enlarge]

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 Madrug谩 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 Madrug谩 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…