of 16th century Seville, a tradition manifested to lead the penitential processions of the brotherhoods – groups of men, first organised by their professions, later by barrios (neighbourhoods) – along a path through the whole city, ending up in Sevillas cathedral, Santa María de la Sede, Spain´s largest gothic cathedral, to celebrate the Holy Week of christendom.
In today´s Seville
during the famous Semana Santa, up to fifty men are carrying each of the so called pasos, intricately decorated wooden platforms with canopies displaying figures of Christ or Virgin Mary, exuberantly lit by hundreds of altar candles. Before and after them walk the penitents, dressed in white or black robes with high, cone-shaped hoods, holding their cirios de Nacareno, the traditional candles lighting the path of the procession.
Until this day, this spectacle is poetically illuminated with candles made by local craftsmen – holy fire – fuego santo.
still the same way they used to be hundreds of years ago, submerging the wicks again and again in the bath of hot waxes, accumulating layer over layer in a process that demands patience and craftsmanship.