Romerías, or pilgrimages, take place throughout the year in small towns, sometimes on the outskirts of Sevilla. One of the most famous pilgrimages is the Romería del Rocío, in which hundreds of pilgrims are organized into brotherhoods and march on foot, horseback and cart(6). At dawn on the Monday of the celebration, the Virgin del Rocío is carried in the procession through the streets. Romerías proceed to a central church or holy place and are often followed by picnics and celebration.
Fería de Abril
Sevilla’s Fería de Abril, or April Fair, takes place on the West bank of the Guadalquivir River in the Barrio de los Remedios one to two weeks after Semana Santa. It is a lively weeklong festival with music, colorful dresses, displays of horsemanship, food, wine, dancing and a fairgroud—a relief after the solemnity of Semana Santa. The fería, which was begun as a cattle market in 1847, also initiates Sevilla’s bullfight season (6).
Semana Santa, or Holy Week, is a solemn, religious holiday with more than 100 floats carried by more than 80 hooded brotherhoods, or cofradías (1). This week from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday in April offers insight into Spanish Catholicism and has an atmosphere of penitence, reverence, sadness and sophistication.
Vast crowds gather to watch the processions of cofradías, which consist of between 300 and 2,000 penitents, or nazarenos, carrying their floats, or pasos, to Sevilla’s Cathedral (1). Each brotherhood carries two immaculately decorated pasos: el paso de cristo and el paso de la virgen. The intricate floats depict scenes of Christ and the Virgen Mary.
Los Nazarenos wear robes and ku-klux-klan-like hoods and can take hours to pass. Some of the most famous brotherhoods, which hold their procession on Good Friday include: Jesús del Gran Poder, La Macarena, Esperanza de Triana and los Gitanos (2). Membership in the brotherhoods is passed down as tradition. When children are born, they inherit the cofradía of their parents, but they do not wear the processional hood until after childhood (1). Semana Santa is a procession not to be missed.
Be aware that prices increase during April because of the festivities. You can reserve a seat on the official route, or carrera oficial, in the Plaza de Campana or on Calle Sierpes to watch the procession, but reservations are not necessary (6). A good idea is to visit the churches of the brotherhoods in the morning to see their preparations. Official program of the daily events are available from newsstands.