Seville, Spain – Semana Santa


60 seconds in Seville, from my One Cool Minute channel on You Tube.


Discipline (n) ;noun

The practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience.

I have a lack of discipline. I never had discipline “instilled” in me by some outside force. No difficult crucible to engrain a dedicated focus that would benefit me for the rest of my life. Thus, I am fascinated by acts of human dedication, especially ones I can see in person. A prime example takes place in southern Spain each spring, in a festival called Semana Santa in Seville, Spain.

Seville is a mid sized city straddling the Guadalquivir river in the southern part of Spain, not too far from the Straight of Gibraltar. Thoughts of North Africa entered my mind but that would have to wait until another trip.

A week of solemn processions under cloudless skies where life size statues depicting the life, crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are walked through the streets of the city on the backs of parishioners. Starting with Viernes de DoloresĀ and culminating with Resurrection Sunday, dozens of parishes will walk their floats from their temples to the Cathedral (the big one near the Taco Bell) and back.

I arrived in the early afternoon after a 5:00AM wake up call in Amsterdam. From the Airport to the City Center the streets got narrower and narrower until resembling something out of National Lampoons European Vacation or the Italy car scene in Master Of None. Luckily I wasn’t driving, though I thought I’d have to exit the car through the sunroof (I didn’t).

The first afternoon was spent walking around the city looking for parades but none were to be found. I walked into a luxurious hotel and asked the folks where the processions were, they handed me a map not made to scale where North was upside down. I discovered this is par for the course in Seville. For reasons too boring to get into here, it’s hard to get a good map of the city other than a GPS based phone map.

Evening turned into night and still no sign of the parades. I hadn’t seen one hooded figure with a huge candle stick, or a giant float depicting the crucifixion. By midnight, the early Amsterdam morning caught up with me so I decided it was bed time.

A couple hours later I woke up to a strange burning smell, and sounds not unlike a big cocktail party. I stumbled over to open the balcony doors and was met by a parade happening just below me.

Hundreds of hooded Sevillians walked down the narrow street. Long candles in their hands dripped hot wax on their cloaks while a crowd of onlookers watched from the sidewalk in the 90 degree heat. Men, women and children were all dressed up and involved in the procession. Some even walked barefoot as a sign of penance. I wore shoes and took pictures from the balcony with air conditioning at my back.

The next week was spent following the processions around town. Some during day, others during night. Most were accompanied by marching bands, a chosen few were completely silent.

An interesting side note, Dunkin Donuts is called Dunkin Coffee in Spain. Not sure if this is the case in other parts of Europe. I’ll have to keep an eye out on future trips.

I definitely want to experience Semana Santa again, I had a super great time and still look at the pictures/videos every few days. In the meantime, I’ll be in LA at the Animal Shelter writing music to fund my next adventure and working on my discipline….

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