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Sights from Spain: Semana Santa

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A member of the procession in a traditional capirote carries a crucifix as part of the celebration

A member of the procession in a traditional capirote carries a crucifix as part of the celebration

A member of the procession in a traditional capirote carries a crucifix as part of the celebration

Miranda Hall, Contributor

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As Easter has passed, the end of Holy Week has come upon us. For some people, like myself, the idea of Holy Week does not hold any religious meaning as we are not catholic. However, in places like Seville, Spain Holy Week, or Semana Santa, is a huge celebration where the streets are filled with every kind of person and cart. In Spain, Semana Santa is celebrated by different churches carrying ornate floats of with either Mary or Jesus on it. Some people are designated to carry the float while others carry candles, staffs, or as seen above, crosses. I was lucky enough to get to be in Seville in 2016 for Semana Santa and I was absolutely enchanted. Many students left the city to travel during this time but I opted to stay so I could watch the celebration. There was something magical about all the streets in the city being shut down as these processionals marched through, and at night it was if the candles they carried lit up the sky.

I am not someone who knows much about religious holidays or traditions but getting to watch the beautiful Spanish tradition was an experience I would not give up for anything. This is an experience that everyone should be a part of a least once in their lives. Even if you are not drawn to the religious idols upon the floats, the festival like atmosphere in the streets of downtown is enough to excite the inner child of every person. They have the streets lined with carts of toys, cotton candy, and roasted peanuts. Traveling around the city does become a bit difficult as every side street is taken over by a different processional but the beauty of it is worth it nonetheless. People from all over come to see Seville’s Semana Santa parades, I had the fortunate ability to speak Spanish fairly fluently and because of that I was able to help settle a situation between security and a foreign family that did not speak Spanish. It brings a host of cultures together to celebrate one thing. Beauty is a hard thing to capture well and it is not something to be thought of as uniform, the spirit of Semana Santa captures the beauty of the Spanish cultures in ways that other traditions do not.

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