While Semana Santa is a national tradition throughout Spain, the "Andalucians" arguably "feel" the week more than other regions of Spain. Throughout seven days, Andalucia is surrounded by a spiritual halo. Semana Santa is a tradition which is repeated year after year; a time when the devout and curious join together to participate in the procession and converge on the streets and squares which take on the ambience and mystique of an open air temple.
The skill and expertise behind the parades rest with the religious fraternities and brotherhoods. They have the responsibility of maintaining the statues as well as coordinating the penitents and musicians. Sometimes up to two thousand members of a brotherhood take part, some carry candles, rods or banners depending on their level of seniority. The most senior is the president who carries a golden rod.
The "costaleros" who carry the weight of the floats and their sculptured representations of the biblical scene are directed by the overseer or head of the group who ensure that the float is carried with maximum seriousness, grace and tradition. To be able to survive the long hours and distance carrying the heavy "thrones" the costaleros have a cushion, known as the costal, which prevents the direct contact of the wood rubbing against the skin. The thrones are followed by "nazarenos" dressed in tunics, hoods and masks and women dressed in traditional costume.
Year after year, each and every village proudly enjoys the beauty and mystery of "Semana Santa" although there are variances and some towns for instance, will preserve certain traditions more than others. The villages and hamlets generally hold their parades on Thursdays and Fridays, while the large capital cities have week long celebrations and attract thousands of people from far and wide.
Irrespective of size, each float represents the pride and enthusiasm of every Andaluz who will spend the entire night, from dusk until dawn, accompanying them in solemn reverence to his or her religion.
The considerable variants of the Holy Week are determined by the historical evolution of religious fiestas and, above all, by folk traditions which determine individuality and character. Malaga and Seville are the two Andaluz cities where the festivities are perhaps the best known for the sheer sense of spectacle and size.
Info by Don Quijote S.L.