Semana Santa de Sevilla: Easter Week in Spain

Semana Santa, or Holy Week, is a major Catholic festival celebrated during the week before Easter in Sevilla, Spain.

Explore the galleries below to see all of the photos.

A paso depicting the Virgin Mary. A paso's candles are not lit in the daytime.

The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the very foundation of Christianity, so the week before Easter (Holy Week) is observed by Christians all over the world. But Holy Week is taken to another level in many parts of Spain and its former colonies. For Semana Santa, Catholics of Sevilla gather for long processions through the city to honor the Stations of the Cross, also known as the Passion of Christ, in part to emulate the difficult journey undergone by Jesus Christ on the way to his crucifixion. Thousands of Catholics walk for hours as penance for their sins, and some even carry crosses as Jesus did. Special teams shoulder the burden of carrying large and heavy pasos, or wooden floats, through the city for many hours. 

It is quite moving to observe the devotion of Catholic Sevillanos to their centuries-old traditions and faith. I grew up Catholic myself, but Holy Week at my modern church in suburban America was nothing like this.

Special thanks to my friend Diana P. for inviting me to attend, and for providing operational support and translation.

Sevilla, Spain. April 2003

Video: Procession of Los Gitanos

Production notes

Many of these photographs were shot in 2003 on Kodak Portra 160NC and 400NC color negative film. The cathedral and Giralda images were shot in 1991 on Kodak Gold negative film. I scanned them using an Nikon LS-5000 film scanner driven by VueScan software. They were auto-imported into Adobe Lightroom Classic for color correction, metadata tagging, organization, and bulk exporting to JPEG format for uploading. I applied additional color balancing and dust/scratch cleanup to some of the film scans in Adobe Photoshop. Video was shot in 2003 using a miniDV format digital video camera, then many years later the videotapes were transferred to a computer and edited using Adobe Premiere Pro.

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