Semana Santa III Seville and Malaga

The processions in the larger cities of Andalucia, such as Seville, Malaga, Cordoba and Jaen, are far removed in character from the modest offerings of the smaller towns.  They are spectacular events and attract crowds in their thousands both from within Spain and further afield.

Seville alone has 105 cofradias and 55 pasos.  In addition to the minor processions during the week, the major processions set out from their 60 or so ‘home’ churches in the suburbs on Maunday Thursday and plan to arrive at the cathedral on the dawn of Good Friday.

 In Malaga the pasos are monumental and in some cases have to be assembled outside their churches because they are too large to pass through the doorway.  Many weigh more than a ton and some around 5 tons.  They are carried by between 24 -54 bearers (‘hombres de trono’), many of whom are hidden from view by a large curtain so that the paso appears to be floating.  The pasos are decorated with silver candelabra, richly embroidered robes and enormous numbers of aromatic flowers.  The ‘Virgen de las Penas’ is clad with more than 20000 carnations.  The number of participants is huge and it is not unusual for a procession to take 1½ hours to pass a particular point.  Spectators look on from balconies along the route and special stands (‘tribunas’) are erected.

 The bugles and drums of the smaller processions are replaced by bands.  Standard bearers and a few other key personnel wear brocaded tunics.  The senoras and senoritas following the major pasos wear mantillas (ornate black lace headdresses) and black dresses.

Madonna paso. Seville

 

Christ on the Cross

 

The standard bearers

 

Brocaded tunics

 

Senior penitents

 

Young recruite join the tradition

 

 

 

Let me light your candle

 

4 Comments

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4 responses to “Semana Santa III Seville and Malaga

  1. My wife is from the Philippines, which also has elaborate processions like the ones you describe in Spain. There are even people there who allow themselves to be literally nailed to a cross.

  2. Many (most?) Spanish speaking Catholic countries have Semana Santa celebrations similar in varying degrees to the ones I have described. Those in the Philippines seem to be the most dramatic, literally. Scenes from Christ’s life are enacted (including the arrival on a donkey on Palm Sunday) and the number of tableaux is large – some processions have 90. Some radio and TV stations close down at 3pm on Good Friday and additional police are deployed to prevent breaches of the solemn mood. I have read of incidents such as you mention – in fact, there are photographs on the internet. It is very disturbing indeed if physical excesses are perpetrated or, even, allowed.

  3. It’s incredible: I was there too… never seen so many people for catholic celebrations

    • I agree, it’s incredible, and it’s difficult to convey the feeling in pictures and words. There is just no substitute for the live experience.

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