If you like Easter, or if you are religious, I recommend you visit during Semana Santa (during the week of 9-16 April) But be aware that Seville is crowded and expensive during this time. Book your hotel at least two months in advance
Every day of the week during Semana Santa in Seville, except on Easter Sunday, brotherhoods of the churches takeout floats or pasos in a procession across the city, accompanied by marching bands. The floats each carry unique statues and pictures Jesus and the Virgin Mary, and are followed by conical-hooded nazarenos or penitents. The thrones are carried by bearers or ‘costaleros’ who are the local youth of Seville.
Best place to watch Semana Santa parade in Seville
The route of each procession begins and ends at their church but all of them go to Seville Cathedral before they turn back. The best area in Seville to watch the Semana Santa processions is near the Giralda and Bishops Palace.
All pasos in Seville follow an official route or Carrera Official which covers La Campana, Calle Sierpes, San Francisco square and Av. Constitucion - all of these are good spots to watch the floats as well. La Madruga (Thursday night) is the best day of the Holy Week in Seville to watch the processions. They carry on through the night of Thursday and no one sleeps in Seville on this night.
Semana Santa date (2017)
In 2017 Semana Santa is around the corner, 9-16 April 2017
Semana Santa facts
Semana Santa commemorates the Passion of Christ and during the Holy Week processions, statues of Jesus, Virgin Mary, and other saints are carried on pasos (or floats).
Seville becomes a place of solemn celebration during Semana Santa week. The main city of Seville gets very crowded with a million visitors and hotel prices are very high
History of Semana Santa
Semana Santa processions and celebrations originated in the middle ages, in the 14th century.
Semana Santa costumes
Women wear La Mantilla (mantle), a traditional suit with a lace mantle, a black dress and a rosary in hand.
Semana Santa traditions
Processions of mass mourning – the pall bearers or costaleros walk barefoot for hours with the weight of the floats on their shoulders. Seville comes together in repentance.
Self flagellation – mourners beat themselves symbolically withg birch twigs. Some devotees actually use glass shards but this is rare.
Petals and Sweets – at the end of the week on Easter Sunday the Nazarenos throw off their hoods as the processions are greeted with flower petals and sweets.
Saeta – participants in the processions sing the emotional mourning song or saeta (it means ‘arrow to the heart’), to mourn the suffering of Christ. The saeta has flamenco origins.
Best day to watch
Seville’s best Holy Week processions are the La Macarena, La Sed, San Benito