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Semana Santa: Passion Week in Andalucia The biggest and most celebrated festival in Andalucia is the "Semana Santa" (Passion Week, literally "Holy Week") Nearly a hundred religious communities take part in the procession as it weaves throughout the whole city of Sevilla. Rocking as they go, groups of people carry religious statues into the cathedral and then carry them back again into the districts from where they started their journey, accompanied by 2-3000 expiatories. For those coming from the outer districts of Sevilla, this journey can take up to 9 hours. Day and night everybody is up: they are watching and evaluating each others’ processions. The audience of several hundred thousand people only adds to the enthralling impact of the silent processions: you can touch the silence that installs when the anticipated statue comes round the corner. The statues – many times in somptuous dresses and jewelry – carried on the shoulders of the community members show the story of the passion of Christ. After the definitive expulsion of the Arabs (the XIIIth century), these religious communities have developed out of profession based civic unions, guilds. According to the written relics, the first fraternity in Sevilla was established in 1340 and was named after the immaculate Virgin Mary. The guilds as private communities could be controlled by the Church and their religious life could be kept under controll by assigning their „own” protecting saint, as well as by assessing ceremonial rituals. The purpose of the Holy Inqusition was to strengthen the christian humility and repentance in the souls of the Andalucians contamined by the heresy of islam. This is the reason why those taking part in the processions wear pointed repentancy hats, as the Church demanded people to hide their bodies behind veils, pronouncing shame on their bodies. The processions whirl the city into timeless infinity for a week and the joyous news of the resurection falls into the deeply ploughed hearts

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