For nearly five centuries, lay religious groups throughout the Spanish-speaking world have staged elaborate public processions commemorating the events of Christ’s passion during Holy Week.
Extremely popular in Spain, these processions are led by the “cofradías” (confraternities). A confraternity is normally a Roman Catholic or Orthodox organisation of lay people created for the purpose of promoting special works of Christian charity or piety, and approved by the Church hierarchy.
Andalucía, and especially Seville, arguably holds some of the most elaborate and glamorous processions. The “cofradías” prepare throughout the year to march for only one day during Holy Week when they go from a small neighbourhood church to the city’s cathedral.
Each “cofradía” could have hundreds or even thousands of participants, including the Nazarenos (click on photo to enlarge). Most of the processions start in the late afternoon and usually include musicians who play drums and trumpets, but there are some others that start at 2 in the morning (until sunrise) and go around town with the Nazarenos walking barefoot, in absolute silence, between 3 and 10 hours whilst carrying long candles, wooden crosses, and, in some places even shackles and chains on their feet as penance.
Holy Week in Seville, which has been declared as a “Fiesta of International Tourist Interest”, is a truly enchanting and mystical event that is impossible to forget.
Focal Journey (by Gustavo Espinola)