Nazareno, Nazareno

It’s Viernes de Dolores in the Catholic world, so you know what that means:

My school is full of nazarenos.

 Now, I know what your American brains are thinking, but this can’t be explained by a few letters: the nazarenos are symbolic of the penitent brothers of religious brotherhoods. In Seville and throughout Spain, these brothershoods march throughout their towns for up to 12 hours, accompanying a float adorned with candles, flowers and an image of Christ or the Virgen Mary.

They say the hoods make the sinners nearly unrecognizable to the people who come from around the world to see Seville’s famous line-up (read a few tips on how to survive it if you do come), but I’d still file it under culture shock.

Though it was tiring (they don’t called it Friday of Dolores, or Sorrows, for nothing!), it was fun to play guessing games with the students and practice prepositions on the two-hour long march.

When the faithful returned to their temple, there were pestiños and rosquillas for all. For now, the mantones and floats are stored until next year, and we teachers get a glorious ten-day break from babies and boogers.

Have you ever attended Holy Week processions in Spain? What was your reaction? Any big plans for Semana Santa? This lady is off to Turkey tomorrow!

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About Cat Gaa

As a beef-loving Chicago girl living amongst pigs, bullfighters, and a whole lotta canis, Cat Gaa writes about expat life in Seville, Spain. When not cavorting with adorable Spanish grandpas or struggling with Spanish prepositions, she works in higher education at an American university in Madrid and freelances with other publications, like Rough Guides and The Spain Scoop.


  1. I had no idea that the children participated like this in schools. This is another great snippet of life in Spain.

    • Aha, you forget I live in the land of perpetual Semana Santa! My school is fanatical in just about everything, and kids as young as 4 or 5 dress up as monaguillos for the big processions!

      Excited to see the redesign!

  2. Aubrey Straub says:

    I just sent this link to my students. Hopefully they read it…. Profe’s alumnos: One point extra credit if you read this and tell me in April! Cat – Enjoy Turkey! I think you’re traveling along the coast too? Keep your information if you can because I might be going with a group of students next year…. Thanks for blogging!

    • Hey lady! Thanks for passing along my blog to your students – extra page hits! In the end, we’re only staying in Istanbul – any more extensive travelling with the few days we have would be too much. Sounds like a beautiful and interesting place, so I’ll keep those sites in mind. How are you!?

  3. I’ve watched the processions in Malaga and in Madrid – loved the fact that the busy city could seem quiet, calm, and holy…just blocks off of the Plaza Mayor! The first time I saw the processions I was just standing around waiting for the “show” to start and then out of nowhere started to hear the chains, and then the drums. All the chattering just stopped to take in the scene.

  4. Great photos, every one of them. I also had no idea there were kids-sized nazareno costumes.
    You’ve got the real deal down there!
    Great job, as always!

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