You may recognize this as one of the many signs of spring in Sevilla, this one specifically heralding the arrival of Easter Week (Semana Santa). After an entire week of processions with thousands of dripping candles along the various routes, you can imagine that things do get quite slippery. This also means that for weeks after Easter Sunday both shoes and car tires tend to squeak as they accumulate wax, until both heat and daily traffic gets rid of most of the waxy residue.
This year I saw two things I had never seen before. One was the use of sawdust on some of the main procession routes, which at first only seemed be making matters worse. But then…
… a couple of nights later I came across this curious machine on my way home from a tapas tour. The usual cleaners were there hosing down the streets with water, along with this thing that basically was pummelling the heckity out of the wax. I haven’t been back yet to check out the results. Will let you know.
Every year there is a competition for the official posters for Semana Santa and the Fiestas de Primavera. This year’s winner for the latter is Nuria Barrera. Called La Alma de Sevilla (Soul of Sevilla) it is a still life full of Sevillano symbolism.
Hanging in the wardrobe are three nazareno tunics from the Macarena, Los Negritos and Amargura brotherhoods, alongside two flamenco dresses by local designer Lina. On the wardrobe shelf above there is a wide-brimmed straw hat trimmed with a Triana green ribbon, plus silk shawls and gypsy accessories. Below we can see a drum from the Maestro Tejera band and some clothes worn by costaleros. Hanging on the left-hand door is a 2013 Easter poster (by the same author) of the Immaculate Conception of Murillo, a picture of El Cachorro and a sticker from the 1992 Expo’92. On the right door of the wardrobe there is a mirror with the Giralda being reflected through an open balcony.
Other details include a pot of red carnations and rosemary, corresponding nazareno footwear under each tunic, the traditional striped cushion used at the bullring, polka-dot flamenco shoes and an enea (wicker) chair with a capirote and hood from the Macarena hermandad. Classic Sevillano floor tiling completes the scene. Seriously, this is The Very Best Poster I have ever seen for the fiestas and I seriously want one.
Meanwhile, my good friend Ania Marchlik came across this bit of wonderfulness. Just around the corner from the San Juan de la Palma church, in calle Viriato, a lovely gentleman has recreated this poster in his patio and has left the doors open so people can admire his handiwork. I found the house yesterday and the man was standing in the doorway with Semana Santa music coming from inside the house, and he was inviting people to go in and have a look. Here you can see them together…
My absolutely favourite days of Semana Santa are Thursday and Friday when the women dressed in black with their magnificent lace mantillas come out in force. They are everywhere, and they are wonderful. Ostensibly they are mourning the recent death of Jesus Christ, but they are also totally into looking fabulous. I see no issue with this, though I have a preference for the more mature women who are into looking classy while they mourn (younger women doing “sexy mourning” with short tight dresses and stiletto heels leave me cold).
mantilla photo op next to my old house (on the left)
mantillas & cervecitas
Semana Santa kind of snuck up on me this year, most likely because I was away in London the week before. And by the time I got back – blam! – it was already starting to happen. I still get caught out by the “pre-Semana Santa” processions, so that means getting around town madness begins even earlier.
This year I didn’t actually make any plans to see a particular procession, other than the Borriquita on Palm Sunday. The rest of the time I was just out and about in the afternoon (usually before or after a tapas tour) and them – blam! – came across a procession. So I didn’t see any processions at night this time around.
Maybe next year I won’t do any tapas tours during Semana Santa so I can take the week to get back into it (because it does take energy and planning). I do love it, for reasons I can’t explain. I just do.
La Borriquita nazarenos returning to Salvador Church
La Borriquita paso depicts Christ entering Jerusalem on a donkey
Nuestra Señora de los Dolores, El Cerro procession
handing out estampitas during the San Bernardo procession
El Cristo de la Salud, San Bernardo procession
Jesús de la Paz, Carmen Doloroso procession
16 pics from Semana Santa ’16…
chairs galore! Plaza San Francisco
Cristo de la Fundación, San Bernardo
waiting for the next procession
Virgen de los Ángeles, Los Negritos
the San Bernardo procession in Cuesta del Rosario
group of people from nursing home with “preferred seating” supplied by local bars
elegant ladies dressed “de luto” (in mourning)
costaleros taking a break
Cristo de la Salud, Los Gitanos
off duty Centurian posing for pics
María Santísima de la Esperanza Macarena
Cristo de la Expiración (El Cachorro)
… also posted on Azahar Sevilla
On Maundy Thursday and Good Friday women dress “de luto” (in mourning) in black dresses and lace mantillas. And although there are definite rules – no mini-dresses, no red lipstick, no stiletto heels (to name a few) – they are not always observed. The ladies are also always happy to pose for a photo. The blonde woman (upper-left) saw me lurking with my phone out and asked if I wanted a photo, then gathered her friends around for a group shot. And suddenly about half a dozen other people came out of nowhere with cameras ready. Score!
Was out and about last night, since the threatened rain didn’t end up appearing. Though the threat of it had kept some of the processions from leaving home on time, rendering the printed programmes pretty much useless. As a result I didn’t see any processions, not wanting to hang about for an extra hour or so along the routes. But I got a few pics, including this one of people waiting for the late processions in the street, while contemplating the Great Power from above… 4G. 😉
Spotted these guys while on a tapas tour. They were transporting wooden crosses from a van parked in Plaza Santa Cruz to… wherever. Probably the Santa Cruz Church. These will be carried by some of the Nazarenos (others carry long candles) during the Semana Santa processions. There is so much preparation that goes into this crazy week (I like it, but it really is crazy) that I find my heart aching for everyone who is going to be devastated by the seriously rainy-stormy weather, forecasted to start Palm Sunday. Let’s hope things clear up! Because if it rains, nothing happens.