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Study Abroad Blog

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Spanish Spring Festivals: Semana Santa

Coming back home from time spent in another country is a mix of great things and wishful longings to go back. But then, it’s so great to get to share all your stories and adventures with people you’ve missed, too. You flip through pictures, you pull out souvenirs, you laugh and laugh and say “ah, if only you could have been there!”
You can bring back a lot of things, but then, there are the things that stay right where they are, in the country where they belong. You can tell stories about them, but try as you can, you can’t bring it back or fit it into your suitcase. The time you did a handstand on “the Edge of the World” in Portugal, or the smell of fresh pasta wafting through your window on the Italian coast. One of those things is a city's festivals.
Spain is world-renowned for its traditions and events and festivals, and it has been a treat to be able to study abroad in Sevilla this semester. Now, sorry to say, I didn’t get to go to the running of the bulls. Or the city-wide tomato fight. Or the one where all the town’s men sling dead rats in the air. But, Sevilla has two big ones in the springtime: Semana Santa and Feria. I had the privilege to be here during Semana Santa.
Semana Santa means “Holy Week,” and is the week leading up to Easter. Many Spanish towns celebrate Semana Santa, but Sevilla’s is the biggest and most famous. The city doubles in size for the week, as they celebrate the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus. Each day has a name, and throughout the afternoon and night (and some days around the clock), the city’s oldest families show off extravagant floats that depict the events leading up to the Resurrection. The entire city comes out to watch the processions, which each include members of the hermanedad (“brotherhood”) dressed in gowns with very tall, pointed hats; a large, wooden cross; and a band playing traditional horns.
Throughout the week, you have big floats, small floats, tons of flowers, bands, people, cameras, songs, tall floats, long floats, candles, traditional clothes, foods--it's all very Sevillan, and very traditional.
Just one of my 1,001 adventures here in Europe – getting to see Semana Santa from the Spanish perspective. Hope you get to love the cities and places that you’re in – whether at home, at school, studying abroad, or anywhere in between. These things that you can’t physically take with you – they are the most special and most unique memories you will ever make.
From my side of the world to yours.
 Semana Santa is famous for all of the extravagant floats that are paraded through town
 We had a great view of the floats from a balcony
 Can you believe how rich this is? They make new ones every year.

Jansen Nash is the Spring 2014 CEA MOJO in Seville, Spain.
He is currently a sophomore at Clemson University.
(photo credit Zachary Haley)


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