Semana Santa in Spain

Last April Roberto and I planned a trip to southern Spain. Only later did we realize this trip would coincide with Semana Santa (Holy Week), which is a very interesting time to visit Spain. Towns host many religious events during the week leading up to Good Friday and Easter, including the famous Semana Santa processions. Small villages and large cities hold these processions featuring various Catholic symbols and scenes. Perhaps the men in long black robes and pointed hoods are the most famous symbol of penance.

We decided to forgo the large scale event in Sevilla, and instead attended processions on Good Friday in the narrow cobblestone streets of Almeria. A large crowd of Spaniards was assembled, watching in somber silence as the first robed figures began silently walking the streets barefoot.

procession

Masked figures appeared carrying wooden crosses.

cross

barefoot

It was almost cute when one of these robed figures helped the other to re-light his sacred candle.

semana santa

It was definitely cute when the local children would run up to the figures to collect wax. It made me wonder what they did with their wax balls after the procession.

wax ball

Ultimately, a large ornate structure appeared, carried by at least 20 men – the body of Jesus?

procession

Here’s a video we took during this part of the procession. I really noticed how they really involved all the senses – including the strong smell of smoke and the forlorn lone ringing bell.

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