Semana Santa in Seville

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Witness how Seville celebrates Holy Week as Spaniards carry religious icons and symbols in daily processions till 12 April.

Thousands of people visit Seville during Semana Santa (Holy Week) to catch one of the most spectacular pageants of The Passion in the world.

Expect solemn processions, marked by mesmerising drumbeats and punctuated by flamenco saetas (songs). From 5 – 12 April, Processions leave from the cathedral at noon every day.

On the night of Holy Thursday, a spectacular procession with images of the Martyr and the Virgin Mary takes place during the night and continues into the wee hours of Good Friday.

The celebrations which date back to the 16th century have remained popular throughout the centuries.

The procession can take up to eight hours, and stretch for miles.

Do watch out for the people who carry the weight of the floats bearing sculptures and models of biblical scenes. Known as costaleros, they deemed it a great honour to carry the 40-kilogrammes-floats with solemnity and grace. They use a small cushion to protect themselves from getting sores from the wood rubbing against their skin during the long processions.

In some of the processions, marchers wear clothes reminiscent of the klu klux klan. Their clothes are meant to depict the Nazareños, people from Nazareth.

Other famous Easter celebrations are held in various Andalusian towns – Valladolid, Toledo, Segovia, Burgos, Zamora and Cuenca.

When: 5 - 12 April 2009
Where: Seville
Cost: Free
Opening hours: Processions start at noon; Good Friday procession will start in the evening and last all night

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