Penitence rituals in Seville date back to the 14th century; 30 or so brotherhoods organizing their own processions date at least to the 16th century. They stopped during the anticlerical Second Republic in the early 1930s and then again shortly after Franco died in 1975. They now attract enormous numbers of people, including Connie and me. And by the way, the food is fabulous too! Octopus tapas, salmorejo cordobés, bastante vino tinto, . . .
This Flamenco show was remarkable as well. We chose the one that the BBC likes: “More authentic and intimate are the performances that take place in Seville’s cultural institutions. The Casa de la Memoria de Al-Andalus (the House of Al-Andalus Memories) encased in a former Sephardic Jewish mansion in the higgledy-piggledy Santa Cruz quarter, has garnered an excellent reputation in recent years for its heavy Baroque atmosphere and skillful musicians who are not afraid to improvise.”
Americans can’t help but be struck by the KKK looking hats, which of course come from a very different set of circumstances.
There is a distinct order for each procession, of which there are about 70 or so over the course of the week. A great cross is carried at the beginning of each procession. A number of people (sometimes barefoot) dressed in a habit and with the distinctive pointed hood (capirote), hold long wax candles, march in silence. Colors, forms and details of the habit are distinctive for each brotherhood. A group of altar boys, acolytes, dressed in vestments with chandeliers and incense, and other servants. A musical group follows or precedes the paso (march). A number of penitentes, carrying wooden crosses, make public penance. They wear the habit and the hood of the brotherhood, but the hood is not pointed.
There are set times throughout Holy Week for each of the marches. The Maundy Thursday processions are the most well known. The floats, as we think of them, are of Jesus’ Passion and then of Mary.
Most are covered in silver and gold, and many date back centuries.
Getting around town easily during Holy Week is out of the question. You watch a procession go by, and then make your way ahead.
The greatest crowds are gone by Easter Sunday. The emphasis is on the Passion, not the Resurrection, it seems. The tickets required for these seats before were not necessary on Easter. You didn’t see any empty seats before Easter either.
Carrying these for hours through narrow streets is an impressive feat.
The entry into the cathedral. A mosque on this site was torn down in 1401. Over the next century, the third largest Gothic church in the world was built.
La Giralda, the iconic tower of the cathedral, originally a minaret in the mosque there.
Santa Justa and Santa Rufina are Seville’s patron saints. They have palm branches, symbolizing their martyrdom and they stand next to the cathedral’s tower.
Columbus made four trips to the New World, which he always thought was Asia, during his life. He kept traveling after he died, being buried in northwest Spain, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, and finally Seville. Here he is being carried by pall bearers representing Castile, Aragon, León, and Navarre – four regions of Spain.
The high altar is 65 feet tall, with 44 scenes from the life of Jesus.
The two saints with palm branches next to the tower.
The pennant or flag of Ferdinand III, who conquered Seville in 1248.
Part of the 7000 pipe organ in the choir.
This painting of the Virgin is older than the cathedral, being incorporated into it when the cathedral was built.
Recognize our saints?
The 1,000 pound monstrance.
From the 14th century.
Santiago on a white horse leading the Reconquista.
The two saints.
A cool building.
The penitents would add wax to the balls formed by children for their keepsakes.
Real Alcázar de Sevilla
Real Alcázar de Sevilla
King Ferdinand III prostrate before the pope.
This is a 17th century, very long, painting of a Seville procession. The reflection from the glass makes it a horrible photo.
This is in the room where Queen Isabel heard from Columbus after his trip to the New World. Ferdinand Magellan and Amerigo Vespucci were here as well. Mary is protecting the ships, sailors, and Indians.
The Mudejar – Islamic / Christian – hybrid style.
The amazing courtyard of the palace / castle.
The isignias of Castille and León.
The dome of the hall with images of former Spanish kings.
The Treaty of Tordisillas, in which the pope gave Brazil to Portugal and pretty much the rest of South America to the Spanish in 1494.
The Archive of the Indies, where millions of documents from the colonial period are held. Many are available at http://pares.mcu.es/
Immaculada from 1672 by Juan de Valdez Leal.