Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Semana Santa

           A week long break from classes woohoo!! The weekend after Portugal began Holy Week in Seville. Several of the students families were in town and it was a lot of fun to watch them experience Seville through our eyes. Sunday is the official start of Holy Week and everyone in the city was dressed to the nines. I met up with Kyle in our Sunday best and we met Stuart Chipres (the directer of SAIIE), Kyle's mom and Aunt, and a few other students at a restaurant for tapas and wine. We had the perfect view of one of the parade routes right by our table. When the procession started thousands of "nazarenos", people from the brotherhood of the church, walked by in elaborate robes holding candles. The nazarenos walk all day, sometimes without shoes and sometimes for 14 hours! After a few minutes we could hear drums in the distance and around the corner came the first float. Each procession has two floats, one of Christ and one of Mary, dating back to the 15th century. Also, 40 men from the brotherhood carry the float on their back and train all year to perfect the motions. Overall it is a grueling experience,  but it was unlike anything I've ever seen. The floats were absolutely beautiful covered in real gold and silver and accompanied by haunting drums. Unfortunately it started raining and the floats cannot be out in the rain so the processions were called for the day. Our group headed to an Irish pub for some drinks and watched the coverage on a tv indoors :) Monday night we met up with Stuart again to watch a night procession. The processions at night are much more serious and the nazarenos wear all black. We were standing right on the edge of one and it was dead silent as it walked by. All of the nazarenos were holding candles and the overall affect was very intense.
 First Sunday of Semana Santa!
 Christ float
 Another brotherhood of Nazarenos
The Virgin Mary Float
        The rest of the week was a little hectic with the crowds, but it was still an amazing experience. There would be times when I would head towards the city center to go to a cafe and wouldn't be able to move because of a procession passing by. The streets were absolutely packed and every float was more beautiful than the one before.