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Spring, Seville and Semana Santa

March 16, 2014 – 2:37 pm
azahar, orange blossom, spring

Orange blossom, which gives Seville its deliciously unmistakeable sweet spring-time scent.

This is a very special time of year in southern Spain: spring.

As the skies finally clear after what seems like months of rain (actually, they were), through the warm spring air wafts the sweet, delectable fragrance of orange blossom – its exotic Spanish name is “azahar“, a favourite word of many here in Andalucia as it heralds a welcome change in season.

Nazarenos in a procession along a street in Seville.

Nazarenos in a Holy Week procession along a street in Seville.

Lent (Cuaresma in Spanish, for 40 days) started last week, which means we’re now in the countdown to Semana Santa - Holy Week. This year it is later than usual, on 13 – 20 April.

Semana Santa is one of the most important celebrations in Spain, and takes place all over the country. Especially renowned for their pageantry and drama are the processions in the cities of Seville, Malaga and Granada.

Virgin, paso, float, Holy Week, Semana Santa, Seville, Sevilla

A Virgin paso from Semana Santa in Seville.

Statues of the Virgin Mary and Christ Jesus are carried through the streets on flower-decked floats, while bands play mournful music and incense is swung in silver containers. It is an extraordinary sight which everyone should witness at least once in their life. All cities take on a distinct, almost mystical air, as the candles are lit at dusk. Bars stay open all hours to cater for the hundreds of thousands of hungry people enjoying these strange and fascinating sights.

It goes without saying that this a very popular time of year to visit southern Spain, and all accommodation in cities gets very booked up, so if you want to come and stay to experience Holy Week in Andalucia, we’d recommend that you find a room or apartment as soon as possible – don’t delay!

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