“What is Easter?” is probably the most frequent question I’m asked when it comes to Seville. And I can understand why: apart from the Cathedral, the Alcázar and other hidden gems, this gorgeous city is very well know for its Holy Week celebrations.
This essential guide to Easter in Seville gives you all the practical information you need to make the most out of this tradition.
Semana Santa in Seville is both my favorite highlight and moment of the year. The incense smell is everywhere, the only music you’ll hear are the marchas and the city is full of action and people from all over the world.
So regardless of your religious attitude, don’t think twice and come to experience the best Spanish festival!
Semana Santa dates in Seville
First things first. When are the Semana Santa dates in Seville?
The truth is… it depends!
The Semana Santa dates vary from year to year because Holy Week is a moveable 7-day feast that goes from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday.
What are Seville’s Holy Week processions?
In Seville, Holy Week processions happen during the most important week of the year. These traditional parades are part of a much larger event that contributes to form the cultural legacy of the city.
As a matter of fact, during Semana Santa Sevilla becomes a living performance of mourning and grief. And what’s amazing is that even though procesiones are acts of public penance for the nazarenos (and the whole brotherhood) and a sign of devotion for Sevillanos, foreigners enjoy them every year, not being sometimes even religious themselves.
Despite the fact that at first sight the processions might seem repetitive, have a closer look to find out the distinctions between them.
Easter activities: daily schedule of Semana Santa processions
What is Easter in Seville? When do processions take place?
During 7 days, from Palm Sunday to Easter, 60 brotherhoods perform processions.
Obviously, Easter activities must follow a very strict schedule. Each hermandad wants to play a role in the celebrations and not cast a shadow over a fellow one.
Organize your visit with a daily schedule. There you’ll find a detailed list with the names of the brotherhoods processioning each day, the time of the exit from and entrance to their home church and the clothing of their nazarenos will help you choose.
Just one piece of advice: don’t try to see everything, it’s absolutely impossible!
Holy Week Seville: What to see each day
As you can imagine, there are a lot of processions happening simultaneously in different parts of the city. Actually, they can be up to 9…
Don’t panic if you’ve looked at the schedule and couldn’t decide where to start!
I have selected a few highlights per day for you. You’ll know exactly what procession look for, where you should see it pass and when you should be there.
Live Semana Santa in Seville as locals do
You’ll surely find tons of blog posts and articles on Semana Santa, especially in Seville. Unfortunately, all of them avoid an essential piece of advice – a guide on how best to watch the processions.
And that’s what I’m here for. Because when I moved to Seville nobody told how to do it. So I had to learn the hard way…
Based on my own experience, here’s how to experience Semana Santa in Seville as locals do.
9 tips to make the most out of Easter in Seville
Once in Seville, you’ll soon realize that the streets are completely flooded with people. Actually, it can be a bit stressing and tiring if you’re not prepared to deal with such an amount of people. But don’t stress, knowing the situation in advance will help you enjoy the Semana Santa.
Follow these 9 practical tips that I have learnt myself after many years walking all over the city’s old town to make the most out of Easter in Seville. You’ll savor one of the most genuine events in the world and conclude that navigating the streets is a piece of cake!
When to visit the home churches during Easter
Seville comes alive during the Holy Week, when all sorts of events take place and more particularly the processions.
But since most of the processions start in the afternoon only to end late at night, you can spend your mornings visiting the home churches of some of the brotherhoods that will parade later that day. It’s the best option to see in a quiet way and with plenty of time the floats (pasos).
However, be patient as you won’t be alone. Other people will be in these churches too. Just take your time and enjoy both the beautiful architecture and the floats.
How to survive Holy Week in Seville with children
Overall Seville is a very family friendly city and that definitely shows during their Holy Week.
So don’t be afraid to bring your children with you. I’m sure they’ll enjoy it if you have them participate in the local traditions.
But since the city the city will be packed and you’re going to find crowds everywhere, you should take a look at this insider’s guide on how to survive Holy Week in Seville with children.
Semana Santa hermandades (brotherhoods)
The brotherhoods, also known as hermandades or cofradías, are associations whose members are Catholic laypersons.
In Seville, there are 60 of them and they are in charge of putting together the processions, which is the most important event of the year. That’s why they spend months preparing the occasion and making the necessary arrangements for it.
One of the essential tasks they carry on is agreeing with the rest the route each one will follow. With more than 60,000 people parading in Sevilla, Semana Santa celebrations would be a chaos without respecting a meticulous preparation and logistics.
Semana Santa glossary of terms
What is Easter? Is it celebrated everywhere in Spain?
Holy Week is the most important religious festivity of the year. And if you happen to be in Seville, you’ll have the chance to enjoy a unique festival, where the most extravagant and spectacular procesiones occur.
As Semana Santa and everything surrounding it constitutes a unique universe, here you have a glossary with some of the most frequent words that you’ll hear or read while being here.
Have a look at the glossary of terms. Each one has a short explanation to give you an idea of what the rest is talking about.