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Saturday, November 5, 2011 (read 3371 times)
The Spanish Semana Santa in Andalusiaby Jose
Andalusia is engulfed by a heavenly light over the course of the seven-day period which precedes Easter Sunday, known in Spain as Semana Santa. This period brings local citizens and curious visitors alike together to witness the numerous and magnificent street processions which are held to mark Spain´s most significant religious holiday.
What are the Semana Santa celebrations?
Semana Santa begins on the Sunday which precedes Easter Sunday, known in Spain as Domingo de Ramos, or Palm Sunday in English. Over the course of this week, there is a variety of religious parades to commemorate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, one of the most significant and poignant events in the Catholic religious calendar. These processions evoke the religious passion of all who converge on the Andalusian streets and squares through the combination of rhythmic music, beautifully-designed floats depicting biblical images of Jesus Christ´s death and resurrection, the vibrant colors of the tunics worn by those carrying the floats and their slow, swaying marching pace.
Each one of these floats, irrespective of its size or grandeur, is the culmination of extraordinary work and determined labor, and furthermore encapsulates the passion, adoration and pride of every Andalusian person towards his or her religion. This is further demonstrated by the fact that these people will spend the entire night, from dusk until dawn, accompanying these floats through the streets of Andalusia in an extraordinary demonstration of solemn religious adoration and reverence.
The most significant moment of the processions is when the float, often carried for hours by dedicated members of religious brotherhoods, enters the respective churches. At this moment, it almost seems as though art and religion become one and is the most rewarding part of the Semana Santa journey for those whose dedicated labor contributed to the creation of the floats, many of which date from as far back as the 16th and 17th centuries.
Whether you consider yourself to be a religious person or not, it is difficult not to be moved by the often-haunting spirituality of the Semana Santa processions in Andalusia. Visit Andalusia in Semana Santa and gain a first-hand experience of the collective passion experienced by locals and visitors alike throughout this important week.
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