Holy Week in Seville is the most important event of all celebrated in the city from a religious point of view. It is one of the most relevant in the whole of Spain, having international resonance in the Catholic world. In 1980 it was declared of International Tourist Interest.

It commemorates the passion, death and resurrection of Christ. It runs from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday. Between these two dates, 60 brotherhoods go on procession towards the city cathedral, and 11 more brotherhoods go out to the streets on procession during the two preceding days.

In this context of Holy Week, the concept of Brotherhood becomes a key element. It consists of an association of Catholic faithful who gather around the dedication to Christ, the Virgin Mary or a saint, a moment of the passion or a sacred relic.

The Station of Penitence or Procession is the main external worship of the brotherhoods. Many Sevillians accompany the images wearing the Nazarene habit while holding candles or crosses, or preceding the Easter floats carrying candles or censers. Others perform the penitential station carrying the image’s platform on their shoulders as costaleros. The nazarenos are the people who go on procession in front of the floats during the Station of Penitence. They are differentiated from one brotherhood to another by the colours or elements they wear on their vestments or carry in their hands.

During these days, the brotherhoods leave their temples of origin and take the Carrera Oficial (obligatory route to be followed by the procession), which begins in the Square of La Campana and continue along Sierpes street, San Francisco Square and Avenue of La Constitución, entering the Cathedral of Seville to perform the Station of Penitence.

Some images are accompanied by musical bands, ensembles or cappellas, although there are also brotherhoods that do not have a musical accompaniment.

An essential element of the Holy Week is the Pregón (announcement), an event that is celebrated a few days before and marks the beginning of Seville’s big week. For the Pregón, an eminent person linked to the city of Seville is invited to exalt in a speech his/her Catholic feelings.

The pasos (processional floats) are a central element of the Holy Week, and are formed by a sculptural image or group of images that represent a passage of the Passion of Christ and are carried by the costaleros in each brotherhood.

After the Council of Trent in the 16th century, the cult of the sacred image was fostered. Great sculptors, carvers and image makers created schools in Seville, from which artists such as Martínez Montañés or Juan de Mesa arose, whose representations (mostly in Baroque style) are alive with feeling, expressiveness and emotion.

It is important to mention as an artistic-religious form the saeta, a prayer in the form of a flamenco song that is dedicated to a Christ or a Virgin by an anonymous person who expresses him/herself with all his/her feeling.

Period / Occurrence:
Easter is celebrated on the Sunday immediately following the first full moon after the March equinox, and is to be calculated from the astronomical full moon.
It may occur no earlier than 22 March and no later than 25 April.

Penitentes en procesión. Photo: Wirestock.

Cristo Crucificado. Photo: Luis F. Pizarro Ruiz. Pixabay

Virgen de la Macarena. Photo: Manuel Ramallo. Pixabay.

Nazarenos. Photo: Luis F.Pizarro Ruiz. Pixabay

Ayuntamiento de Sevilla. (2014). Semana Santa de Sevilla. [Video File].