SEVILLE – As a result of the pandemic the traditional Semana Santa processions in the week before Easter will be cancelled in 2021. Not since 1933 have there not been Easter processions for two consecutive years.
In 1933, there were no processions in Seville due to the political and social tensions during the Second Spanish Republic. Every year from 1934 to 2019, the brotherhoods carried their statues through the Andalucian capital of Seville.
No celebrations on the open road
Last Tuesday, Archbishop Juan José Asenjo of Seville announced in an official message the decision to cancel the Easter celebration in order to prevent further spread of the coronavirus. “All activities and celebrations organised by the parishes, brotherhoods, religious associations and other church groups that take place on the public road will be cancelled,” the report said. The Archbishop also stated the cancellation of the processions does not imply that Easter cannot be celebrated. He urged all ecclesiastical groups to conduct liturgical celebrations with great involvement and intensity.
Commemoration of the suffering of Jesus Christ
Normally, the celebration of Semana Santa starts on Palm Sunday and ends on the day before Easter. All the brotherhoods, some of which have existed for centuries, openly show their penance by walking through the streets of the city with huge portables with religious images (Jesus Christ or the Blessed Virgin Mary) on their shoulders. These penitential processes commemorate the suffering of Jesus. For the brotherhoods, the preparation and celebration of the Semana Santa processions is the highlight of the year.
Semana Santa processions
Semana Santa is celebrated all over Spain. The Malaga and Seville processions are the most famous and usually attract the biggest crowds. Last year, the Easter processions throughout Spain were cancelled due to the Covid pandemic. RTVE then showed videos and audios of the most striking Semana Santa processions in recent years.