Semana Santa, Holy Week, Seville, Spain

A hoodie [nazareno] walking beside Seville's river, Andalusia, Spain

The top level of three walkways beside Seville’s river.

Semana Santa Seville, Holy Week, before Easter

Semana Santa hoodies procession, Seville, Spain, Europe April

Nazarenos in traditional formation, some in bare feet.

An apparently scary sight – especially for African Americans – but actually these Catholic men and women are melancholic penitents performing public acts of penance. They are also exhausted after shuffling around the old town for hours enclosed in their own mobile saunas. The bugcrew were exhausted just watching them.

Between the Cathedral and Convento de la Encarnation a paso is preceded by a clutch of hoodies (officially: nazarenos) on the Thursday before Easter. There are over 60 similar processions, day and night, over the week before Easter but Thursday is the most important day.

A procession in in front of the Cathedral, Seville's Semana Santa, Andalusia, Spain

Plaza Virgen de los Reyes.

Semana Santa penitents

Over 30 brotherhoods have been holding pre-Easter Semana Santa processions in Sevilla since the 16th century but more recently other cities in Spain have been promoting/developing the Semana Santa occasion, and not necessarily for religious reasons. The out-of-season tourist potential is huge, though the Bugcrew noticed that the majority of spectators in Seville were Spanish tourists from other regions.

Purple hoodies pass by in procession in Seville's Semana Santa, Andalusia, Spain

The interior structure of the hood has a tendency to topple backwards so many nazarenos have to pull the cloth downwards at the front to prevent the hood from dragging their faces off.

A golden float/paso walks by in Seville's Semana Santa, Andalusia, Spain

A paso, portable shrine passes through Sevilla’s back streets.

Wheel-less pasos weigh over a ton and are carried by 20 or 30 heroic, invisible hulks who can see nothing and and hear nothing except shouted movement instructions from an overseer walking next to the gilded juggernaut.

Silverwork detail on a float/paso in Seville's Semana Santa, Andalusia, Spain

On pasos, gold décor signifies Christ is the object of adoration and silver the virgin.

Semana Santa visitors

Cute ladies in mantillas during Seville's Semana Santa, Andalusia, Spain

Traditionally dressed ladies wearing La Mantilla during Semana Santa de Sevilla, Holy Week.

A hooded procession at night in Seville's Semana Santa, Andalusia, Spain

Night-time in Seville’s city centre as a silver virgin passes by and the action never stops, though. . .

Semana Santa night

Hooded Nazarenos at night with candles, Semana Santa, Seville, Spain

. . . the processions do halt regularly to rest and water the heavyweights carrying the pasos.

Processions continue after Thursday midnight and stagger through the night until midday Good Friday. This period is one of Seville’s highlights and is known as La Madruga.

Purple clad nazarenos late at night in Seville's Semana Santa, Andalusia, Spain

And a flash of colour late at night.

Different cofriados (brotherhoods) wear different outfits, with the plainer costumes usually worn by local bourgeoisie and the more outlandish by distant working-class cofriados. Some are accompanied by marching bands or a cappella choirs but not the overnight walkers.