...being there, but without the crowds
2.3 by Mónica G del Canal
The “Semana Santa by the hour” and the “Balcony Tour” are the essential part of what I offer, since I know by experience that they are the best ways to get a first significant approach to the Semana Santa in Seville.
As we said, each day of processions last about 8 hours. Of course nobody spends all that time on the balcony, not even the Sevillians who live in or rent an apartment with a balcony for the whole week: the custom in such cases is to invite many guests, drink, cook, go out, come back home and therefore watch the processions that interest them, perhaps when a relative or friend takes part. In the case of a visitor who has no local acquaintances, there is of course no real attraction in staying for eight hours in the same apartment; this is why we have decided to offer, as an absolute exclusive, “hour packages”. These can include a certain amount of hours on a specific balcony, the combination of a “balcony plus guide on foot through the city” or, in certain cases, a real “tour of balconies” (always with a guide in this case), which involves moving at the right time from one balcony to another, to follow - from different vantage points - different processions or in any case the significant events of the specific day. In most cases, one will be briefly hosted by a local family, which will temporarily open to my customers the doors of their home to allow a view from their balconies.
To complete the view from the balconies, it is in any case sensible to hire a specialised local guide who can help to “navigate” through the city in feast and explain certain kinds of behaviour and peculiarities which confer so much meaning to Seville’s Semana Santa. Actually, the Brotherhoods are active all year around: it is essential to understand the depth of their dedication, the complexity of the organisation and the meaning of this feast for the Sevillians. It may seem strange to say so, but the Semana Santa is not an event: rather, it is the natural expression of the continuous social activity of the Brotherhoods. Indeed, the religious aspect, though so apparent, often takes second place compared to the spirit of the Brotherhood and the pride of continuing to give to Seville and the world this unique tradition: the more details you discover and the richer will your experience in the city be.