Experience Semana Santa in Seville
Semana Santa or Holy Week in Seville is an experience you will never forget. Seville´s Semana Santa and Feria de Abril (April Fair) are its biggest and most important celebrations, in which the city is flooded with Spaniards and foreigners alike. This year it takes place from March 29th to April 4th, so get planning!
Holy Week in Seville is famous for the religious processions that take place all week long from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday. The pasos, which are the main attraction of the processions, are large heavy floats of wooden sculptures that depict different scenes of the Passion of Christ or images of a grieving Virgin Mary. The processions are held by religious brotherhoods from the city of Seville, of which there are close to 70, each with their own pasos.
The designated route of the processions start at the home church, make their way to the Cathedral of Seville, and back to where they came from. Nazarenos are the members who march in the procession covered from head to toe in a habit with a pointed hood and holding long wax candles. The heroes of the event are the men who bear the weight of the enormous sculptures for hours on end. It is not an easy job!
Locals and tourists alike line the streets of Seville waiting for the processions to pass. Processions take place continuously throughout the day, especially on Good Friday and Holy Saturday, so it is a good idea to watch as one begins from its starting point and then have some wine and tapas in a nearby bar as you wait for the next one to begin. Before heading out of your hotel, it would be helpful to ask the information desk for an itinerary and map of the processions taking place that day. It is important to know what to expect. If you are not prepared to stand for long hours in very heavy crowds, then attending the larger processions is not a good idea.
The most impressive (and also the most crowded) processions take place on the night of Holy Thursday and arrive at the Cathedral on the dawn of Good Friday, also called madrugá. So take a siesta, have a good Spanish meal, and be prepared to stay out on the streets of Seville until early hours in the morning! These processions can take hours upon hours to come to an end, but to witness the dedication and preparation by the Sevillanos in carrying out this tradition is truly breath-taking and can even be surprisingly emotional.
Planning is a must when it comes to your trip to Seville during Semana Santa. Hotels get booked pretty quickly and prices go up, so it would be a good idea to make your reservations plenty of time in advance. Our Madrid, seville and Cordoba tour can only be booked for those dates if it is booked really well in advance. Another thing you might want to consider is whether you would like to rent a balcony or chairs to view the processions from the main streets since these also get reserved very quickly. These are good options if you want to enjoy the processions while avoiding the crowds, but can be quite expensive.
During your stay in Seville, we recommend that you take advantage of being in beautiful Andalucía and do a day trip to a nearby city. Whether it be to visit the Alhambra in Granada (UNESCO World Heritage Site) or a wine tour to Jerez de la Frontera to visit the famous sherry winery Tío Pepe, don´t miss the chance to explore another of Spain´s charming cities!
More information on Seville can be found on the city´s tourism board page.