In my opinion, no city celebrates Holy Week like Seville. The colors, the aroma, the passion and the pageantry are epic. CITY OF SORROWS captures all the wonder and majesty of this grand event, mostly through the eyes of Andrés.
Holy Week is Andrés’s favorite time of year. A complex person and the story antagonist, Andrés is as wounded as he is passionate about the week between Palm and Easter Sundays. He is a member of the religious fraternity La Esperanza de Triana, a brotherhood whose liturgical year triumphs in the glory and splendor of Semana Santa (Holy Week).
As Andrés says, “Holy Week in Seville is everything he likes about the city. Death becomes a work of art. Grief becomes beauty. Sensuality and Semana Santa go hand in hand. Holy Week is the highlight and harbinger of spring. A time for new beinnings. New life.” (page 212, CITY OF SORROWS)
From dusk to the early hours during Semana Santa, the city’s residents – and up to a million visitors– line the streets to watch the processions that count down the days to Easter Sunday. Rooted in simple storytelling, the processions were devised in medieval times as a way of explaining the crucifixion to the common people.
Today, wooden carved statues of Christ and the Virgin Mary are carried high above the crowds by cofradías – religious brotherhoods scattered throughout the city. Richly-adorned floats sway through the streets as the human shoulders that carry them negotiate Seville’s cobblestoned alleys. The floats are flanked by a brass band playing iconic Holy Week funeral dirges – as well as the Nazarenos, the cloaked candle-bearers in conical headdresses whose appearance reminds us of the Spanish Inquisition.
As a painter, Andrés would certainly appreciate the glorious artwork paraded on the floats during Semana Santa. Highly regarded artistically are the iconic carvings Jesus del Gran Poder (by Antonio Ruiz Gijón, circa 1682-1692) pictured above and La Esperanza de Triana (possibly attributed to Juan de Astorga, circa early 1800s).
Sorrow. Loss. Restoration. Redemption. CITY OF SORROWS is a thought provoking story perfect for the Easter season. Enter here to win a free copy: Goodreads Giveaway: CITY OF SORROWS.
Are you as passionate about Holy Week as Andrés is? Please share your cherished traditions with our readers by leaving a comment below.