Semana Santa, otherwise known as Holy Week, is an extremely important holiday in Spanish-speaking country but is celebrated with the most enthusiasm and anticipation in Seville, Spain. The holiday, held from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, is celebrated with religious devotion, art, parades and dances to commemorate the death of Jesus Christ.
Round trip from New York ⇄ Sevilla, Spain (April 11th-April 20th) starting at around $1,420. Flight details: www.travelpapa.com
Semana Santa involves the marching in procession of brotherhoods of the church and penitents, followed by elaborate floats on which sit seventeenth century images of the Virgin or Christ. Throughout the week, the processions leave churches all over the city from early afternoon onwards, snaking through the city and back to their resting place many hours later.
Seville has been holding its Easter week celebrations since the 16th century, and they have become universally famous. Some 50,000 people put on traditional robes to parade in the processions. There are processions in the evening and at the night every day. The celebration takes place for 8 days, during which there are saetas (flamenco songs) that are recited from the balconies in honor of the statues.
The most important of Seville’s Semana Santa takes place at midnight on Maundy Thursday. That night, some of the most venerated statues make their way through the streets, such as Jesús del Gran Poder, la Macarena, la Esperanza de Triana and elCristo de los Gitanos. At this time, there can be more than one million people lining the streets.
During your off time, you might want to take advantage of the fact that Seville is home to 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Seville’s cathedral is one of the largest churches in the world, and claims to contain the bones of Christopher Columbus. The city’s other major monuments are the Giralda minaret and the World Heritage–listed Alcázar fort.