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Semana Santa in Seville

There may be no city in the world where Holy Week (or Semana Santa) is of greater public significance than Seville.  Religious brotherhoods, called cofradias, process through the city’s streets, carrying extraordinary tableaus (called pasos) depicting events of Christ’s final week:  his trail before Pontius Pilate, his scourging, his crucifixion, etc. But most famous, and perhaps most beloved in Seville, is the procession honoring La Macarena, an elaborately costumed image of The Virgin Mary.

The accompanied video shows a bit of that procession.

Particularly moving is the saetas sung to La Macarena as the float temporarily halts (the floats are frequently serenaded by singers from balconies along their routes, these salutations called saetas, or “arrows” because of “arrow of sorrow” that pierces the Virgin’s heart). She sings, “de la risa y de la pena Dios Padre echó la semilla, y era una tierra tan buena esta tierra de Sevilla, que brotó la Macarena”

(idiomatic translation: “From laughter and pain, Father God’s Son [Jesus Christ] sprang forth; it was from the wonderful land of Seville that the Macarena sprang!”)

This second link is to an hour-long documentary on Holy Week in Seville.

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