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Gap Year Abroad

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04/02/2013

La Madrugá

The night of Holy Thursday into the early morning of Good Friday are the most important days of Semana Santa in Sevilla, as well as Palm Sunday. I was surprised to find that Easter Sunday actually isn't that important. My host mom was explaining to me that the reason for that is because my Easter Sunday the pasos are finished. The last one(it's called The Resurrection) occurs at 4am on Easter Sunday. Semana Santa in Sevilla revolves around the pasos. Many people don't even know what Easter is really about, they simply like to watch the pasos. Nothing really special happened on Sunday. Except that it didn't rain for once. My favorite days of Semana Santa were definitely Holy Thursday and Good Friday. The reason they are the most important and most popular is because there are procession throughout the enitre night and they are the most beautiful and famous processions.

Earlier in the day I had gone to mass and I got to have my feet washed! It was a really neat experience. I had told my host mom I wanted to go to mass so she called her friend who goes to a church near our house and I went to met her. When I first entered I didn't see her, so I just sat down. But a few minutes later an elderly woman came up to me and asked me if I was the girl who was living with Estrella. After introducing ourselves she invited me to come sit with her. The priest asked for volunteers to come step forward to have their feet washed, and my mom's friend Asun asked me if I wanted to do it, so I said yes and went to sit upfront with the other volunteers. It was very different from any holy Thursday mass i have ever attended. We all sat facing the alter in a circle. The congregation I went to was a very close knit community. I had to enter through the side door since they want to keep the mass intimate and don't want too many people entering. There were only about 40 people there, and all of them knew each other. During the sign of the peace every single person in the church kissed each other on the cheek. It was a really nice gesture, except I had trouble keeping track of who I had already given the sign of the peace to! There was also a wonderful choir with guitars as well. There was even a procession after mass and adoration. After that everyone was invited to the priests house for some tapas y copas, unfortunately I had already made plans with some of my friends.

We met around 11:30 to begin our night. There were a lot of us and we didn't all end up sticking together, so it was basically Haley and me for most of the night. Her host mom had given her some good streets to watch the pasos from so we tried to follow that advice.

The number of people on the streets was amazing. Sevilla is usually pretty quiet at night, but on this particular night the streets were about three times as crowded as they are during the day. watching the pasos at night is much different than during the day. The atmosphere is just different. I preferred it much more at night, it's also much more beautiful since they light all of the candles on the pasos. We basically ran around for a good part of the night trying to maneuver our way through the city so see as many paso as possible. Around 3 we headed over to the Cathedral to see of the pasos pass by on a smaller street. That was really neat since the pasos was right in front of me. It was also amazing to see how it fit, because some of the streets in the Sevilla are extremely narrow. After that we took an ice-cream break and then we waited and waited and waited. We really wanted to see the Macarena because it is one of the most famous pasos, but we wanted a good seat. So we waited for three hours!

What happened was that it came late, and it took about an hour and a half to pass by since it had about 3 thousand nazarenos. Yes, you read that right. 3 thousand. But we were actually lucky to see it because soon after it passed by the street we were on it started raining so it took refuge in a nearby church.

Being in Sevilla during Semana Santa was a truly amazing experience. I'm so glad I got the opportunity to experience such an important week in Andalusian culture, it's something that won't easily be forgotten.

here is a video of the Macarena

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFemkRj65ic

I'll post some pictures when I have time. Right now I'm off to volunteering.

hasta luego

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