Semana Santa Dates Back to 16th Century

November 30, 2008 by  
Filed under What is Semana Santa

The tradition of the Semana Santa dates back to the 16th century in Spain, when the Catholic Church decided to educate congregations about the events surrounding Christ’s crucifixion. Needing an easily understood and effective means of depicting the Passion of Christ, the church turned to art. This religious ceremony dedicated to the suffering of Christ and the Virgin Mary is celebrated in cities, towns and villages throughout the world.

Semana Santa begins on Palm Sunday, one week before Easter. On Good Friday the ceremonies reach a climax and it ends the day after Easter Sunday. The groups of figures and floats are carried throughout the streets from each of their churches. Processions continue day and night accompanied with beautiful ceremonies and picture-like rhetoric, decorated with garlands, flags and crosses.

Semana Santa In Spain

November 30, 2008 by  
Filed under Semana Santa Around the World

Semana Santa Seville Spain

Semana Santa Seville Spain

Every year a million or more Spanish and foreign tourists flock to Seville to witness the spectacular processions of Holy Week, one of Europe’s most affecting and unforgettable events. Holy Week processions have centuries of history in much of Spain, but are most extravagantly staged in Seville.

“During the whole of Semana Santa, street processions are organized in many Spanish towns each evening, from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday. People carry statues of saints around on floats or wooden platforms. Processions end on Easter Sunday, a day full of light and color when church and cathedral bells are heard ringing throughout the country.”

“The religious fraternities and brotherhoods are responsible for carrying the statues and organizing the penitents and musicians. The Nazareños (“people from Nazareth”) follow the people who carry the floats bearing sculptures and models of biblical scenes.”

After Seville, “the most famous Easter celebrations in Spain are held in various Andalusian towns, including Valladolid, Toledo, Segovia, Burgos, Zamora, and Cuenca.”

“For a great selection of places to stay with discount prices visit Seville Hotels for more information.”

Thanks to http://worldparty.roughguides.com/festival/default.aspx?festID=93 and http://www.euroresidentes.com/Fiestas/semana_santa.htm for excerpts and quotes on Semana Santa celebrations in Spain.

Semana Santa In Chile

November 30, 2008 by  
Filed under Semana Santa Around the World

Semana Santa is an important time throughout South  America. In Chile the tradition of “Cuasimodo” extends a week beyond Easter. Cuasimodo celebrations derive from the time when parish priests made their post-Easter rounds, accompanied by armed cowboy bodyguards. Also known as “Correr a Cristo” (Running to Christ), the day-long celebration involves a mass, followed by a procession in which the parish priest is drawn in a decorated carriage accompanied by mounted cowboys, bicycles, carts, and crowds of shouting people.

 

Excerpts and quotes on Semana Santa activities in South America were taken from Bonnie Hamre, About.com (http://gosouthamerica.about.com/od/culfiestas/a/SemSantaPeru.htm).

Semana Santa In Peru

November 30, 2008 by  
Filed under Semana Santa Around the World

“Perhaps the most famous Semana Santa celebrations occur in Ayacucho, Peru, where the entire town participates in the Holy Week event. Semana Santa celebrations are concentrated in the Andean highland villages, where the mix of Catholicism and pagan religions creates some of the most colorful and fervent festivals. Ayacucho, Cuzco, Huaraz and Tarma each have week-long observances, but Ayacucho is most famous for its Holy Week celebrations.”

 Tarma is often called the Pearl of the Andes for its scenic beauty. “The streets where the processions march are covered in carpets and arches of flowers, created by the devout citizens of the town. Celebrations begin on Thursday with the procession of the Virgen de Dolores, continue with the daily observances, and end with the traditional Easter Sunday processions. A tradition for the artisans creating the floral works is to end the day with a calientito, hot tea with lemon and chacta (cane liquor) to keep the creative spirit warm.”

 In Huaraz, at the base of Huascaran, year-long preparations culminate in a carefully choreographed week of celebrations. Beginning with Palm Sunday, an effigy of Christ is carried on a donkey into the city. Celebrations end on Domingo de Resurrección with fireworks and the release of hundreds of birds. Huaraz observes Semana Santa rituals with piety and devotion.

 “In Cuzco, capital of the Inca Empire, Semana Santa observations revolve around the Señor de los Temblores. Legend has it that the statue of Christ, sent by Philip V of Spain to aid in the conversion of the Indians, became emaciated and blackened following an earthquake on May 31, 1650. The statue, now resembling the native population, has been revered since as the Cristo de los Temblores (Christ of the Earthquakes.) The processions through the streets are colored by strips of textiles woven with gold thread that hang in the windows of houses, and enlivened by firecrackers and noise makers.”

 “A different slant to the religious rituals occurs on Good Friday when abstinence is not practiced. Instead, participants feast on twelve traditional dishes, from soups, fish, potato dishes to desserts.”

 “In Ayacucho, the most famous and well-attended Semana Santa celebrations involve the entire town. The ceremonies begin on the Friday before Palm Sunday, with the enactment of the meeting between Christ and his mother, the Virgen Dolorosa. Palm Sunday is a festive occasion, with mules and palms waving throughout the city. During the week, daily, and evening processions allow the participants to demonstrate their devotion.”

 “An open air market with crafts, food, and music draws a huge crowd who enjoy chicha or chacta with a chew of coca leaves. A traditional belief holds that since Christ is now dead, and not yet risen, there is no such thing as a sin. Consequently, participants in Ayacucho’s holy week celebrations use this time to party and behave as they please until Sunday’s resurrection ceremonies.”

Semana Santa In South America

November 29, 2008 by  
Filed under Semana Santa Around the World

Many South American communities celebrate Semana Santa. In many places, the full Passion Play is enacted from the Last Supper, the Betrayal, the Judgment, the Procession of the 12 Stations of the Cross, the Crucifixion, and finally the Resurrection of Christ. As in many locations around the world, participants wear costumes and play their parts with reverence.

Processions for Holy Week – History

November 25, 2008 by  
Filed under What is Semana Santa

Today as throughout history, the celebration of Holy Week (Semana Santa) processions “remains a sacramental centerpiece for the period of Lent. Each procession is organized by brotherhoods which coordinate all of the logistics including the carriers (cucuruchos) for the floats (andas). Some of the major processions begin before dawn and conclude after dark, requiring some 8,000 participants along the route. Although some processions are more elaborate than others, all of them include two traditional andas. The first, bearing a statue of a cross-laden Jesus of Nazareth, is carried by up to 100 men. The second is a smaller float, born by women, transporting Virgin de Delores who represents the Virgin Mary grieving over Jesus’ crucifixion.”

“According to Elizabeth Bell, cucuruchos historically carried the floats with their faces covered. It is believed that the carriers previously participated solely for penance. But, during the 1950s because of political attitudes, carriers were required to show their faces.”

“Preceding the anda in the procession is a man holding a pole with a sign declaring the turn number the procession is getting ready to make. When the float makes the turn, the carriers designated for that turn are waiting on either side of the street and, as it slowly stops, subtly take the place of the carrier in their assigned position.” This maneuver is so seamless that it is hardly discernable, even though you know it is happening.

“The order of every procession follows a similar pattern. The float of Christ appears first with the figure of the Virgin de Delores trailing about a block behind. Accompanying her are a funeral band and two smaller floats with sculptures of Saint John and Mary Magdalene. These are carried by four men who make change turns (but not at every corner).”

“Some of the processions are more comprehensive in the re-enactment of the last days of Christ’s life. Many participants portray Roman soldiers. The roles of Pontius Pilate and Judas Iscariot are paid positions because no one wants to volunteer for them, and they must march the entire route without replacements. One of the most stunning processions happens on the morning of Good Friday, originating from La Merced Cathedral in Antigua. Along with the typical andas, there are incredibly lifelike wooden statues of Christ depicting His torture and suffering leading up to the crucifixion.”

Thanks to http://lifesstory.com/site/semanasanta.html for quotes and information on the history of processions for Semana Santa.

Semana Santa Dates

November 25, 2008 by  
Filed under Featured

 

 

Taking place sometime between March 22 and April 23 each year depending on when Easter falls, Semana Santa or Holy Week is a week long celebration that fills the streets, churches, bars and restaurants. Festivities run all week leading up to Easter and the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

 

Semana Santa Dates

2010

2011

2012

Viernes de Dolores

March 26 April 15

March 30

Sábado de Pasión

March 27

April 16

March 31

Domingo de Ramos

March 28

April 17

April 1

Lunes Santo

March 29

April 18

April 2

Martes Santo

March 30

April 19

April 3

Miércoles Santo

March 31

April 20

April 4

Jueves Santo

April 1

April 21

April 5

Viernes Santo

April 2

April 22

April 6

Sabado de Gloria

April 3

April 23

April 7

Domingo de la Resurrección

April 4

April 24

April 8

 

Semana Santa in Seville, Spain

November 25, 2008 by  
Filed under Featured

Processions commemorating Jesus’ death and resurrection are the focus of Holy Week in Spain.The Holy Week is a moving and dramatic experience, especially in Andalucia. The Andalusians set out their processions to eclipse all others in splendor and pathos.” In Seville, you will witness some 60,000 participants proceeding from the chapel to the Metropolitan Cathedral and back. As will all Holy Week traditions, processions start on Palm Sunday and end on Easter Sunday.

“The oldest brotherhood of Seville, El Silencio, was created in 1340, but most of the brotherhoods were formed in the 16th century by clergy, noblemen, guild members, or racial minorities. In Granada, the brotherhoods are much younger. Except for San Agustín, they were all established in the 20th century. Today, members of brotherhoods consist of religious laymen only. They have their own symbols, traditions, and habits reflecting their religious and social background.”

Thanks to Paula Repo (http://www.travelinginspain.com/sevilla/holyweek.htm) for quotes and information.

Semana Santa in Antigua, Guatemala

November 25, 2008 by  
Filed under Featured

Many towns and villages celebrate Semana Santa (Holy Week) at Easter time. But no town celebrates it quite like Antigua. Declared a National Monument by the Guatemalan government in 1944 and named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979, Antigua is steeped in both heritage and tradition. Semana Santa commemorates the last week of the earthly life of Jesus Christ, culminating in His crucifixion on Good Friday and His resurrection on Easter Sunday.

The entire city participates in this yearly event, from the very young to the very old. Additionally, thousands of visitors from all over the world flood Antigua to witness the dramatic processions and observe this somber, religious event. 

Semana Santa Overview

November 24, 2008 by  
Filed under Featured

Semana Santa, Easter Week or the Passion of Christ is known through out the world as one of the most the most important celebrations in the Catholic Community. The festivities begin with the Domingo de Ramos (Palm Sunday) and end with Lunes de Pascua (Easter Monday). It is a celebration of the last days of the Christ’s life and communities around the world come alive.

Each area, city and town has it’s own accent on it’s celebrations. They all differ but in common they all portray life, color, culture, music and dance, all with a very religious meaning.

In many cities the processions go on for miles and will last until the early hours of the morning, every night through the Easter week. Children as young as 3 or 4 take part and crowds will swell into hundreds of thousands.

In many communities, the full Passion Play is enacted from the Last Supper, the Betrayal, the Judgment, the Procession of the 12 Stations of the Cross, the Crucifixion and, finally, the Resurrection. Participants are costumed and play their parts with reverence.

Everywhere, processions make their way through the streets, carrying religious icons and symbols of their faith. In Antigua alone there are over 100 of these such images. Semana Santa has to be experienced first hand to be fully appreciated and no words can begin to describe the emotions that flow like water, wherever you go. If you have the opportunity to sample these festivities, take it! One thing is sure, the images, music and  experiences will stay with you forever.

During this week, many schools and offices are closed. You can expect many areas to be crowded as people take advantage of the holiday.

« Previous PageNext Page »