Suggestions for Future Sevillanos

Learning how the best utilize the Seville public transportation will save countless time, and will assist in getting the most out of your Seville experience. One of the best decisions I have made while in Seville has been my purchase of the Sevici bicycle system, which costs around 40 euros for the entire year, including insurance ( This service allows someone to travel for 30 minutes on bicycles placed throughout the city, and once these 30 minutes are up, one will be charged for each additional hour. Putting the bicycle back and then taking it out again before the 30 minutes is up is a great way around the 30 minute rule, however I have found that I can travel all the way from one side of the city (Nervión Plaza) to the other (Mercado Triana) in under this 30 minute time allotment. The metro and bus system also work extremely well, and Centro MundoLengua provided us with four 30 euro metro/bus/trolley passes for throughout the semester, which has been more than enough for travel to the University each day, in addition to further use on the weekend.

The transportation in Seville can also be used travel all throughout Spain. The bus station at Plaza de Armas has busses that travel throughout Spain, and even to Portugal, while, other bus stations such as Prado de San Sebastian tend to solely travel throughout Andalucía. The bus system, while very easy to navigate, tends to be slower, more likely to be late, and less comfortable than the trains. I have found that it works just as easily to buy bus and train tickets online, as it is to do so in person, it really depends on personal preference. Flying is also very easy to do since there is a four euro bus to and from the airport that runs every 30 minutes, and there are companies, such as RyanAir, that offer very cheap flights all over Europe, as well as to Northern Africa.

Traveling throughout all of Spain is wonderful, however, there are also wonderful things to do while in Seville. One activity that every student should look into is the opportunity to volunteer while in Seville. I am currently volunteering at a pool where I help disabled children and adults to swim, which is a method of physical therapy in addition to just a fun activity that they love to do. Even if students do not participate in the volunteering course offered, it is still possible to volunteer.  I have chosen to volunteer three hours every week, and I have had the opportunity to learn new vocabulary, meet new people, and make a meaningful difference in the community.

A very underrated and often forgotten 33bactivity besides soccer games (both Betis and Sevilla), there are many opportunities for very intense listening activities.  The theatre is a wonderful place to experience Spanish culture, and there are three major theaters in Seville, and the cheapest option is Teatro Lope de Vega. This is housed in gorgeous building that was built in the Baroque-style in 1929 for the Ibero-American Exposition.  I urge everyone to go out and experience the culture that Seville has to offer as the time flies by faster than is imaginable.


Semana Santa

Semana Santa is a weeklong festival leading up to Easter Sunday that began in response to the Black Death (la peste negra), which between 1348-1350 had killed one third of the population in Europe.  Originally this festival intended to appease God and to do this, nazarenos would participate in self-flagellation to reenact how Jesus amargura_nazarenos_diario_ssuffered.  These nazarenos wear triangular hoods to maintain their anonymity because it was believed that only God should be aware of their sacrifice. Self-flagellation is no longer practiced publicly in Seville, rather, the nazarenos hand out candy to children, almost like a moving Halloween.  It has also becimagesome very popular for children to develop giant wax balls from the dripping wax of the candles that the nazarenos carry.  Children will make these wax balls larger and larger throughout the week, although there does not appear to be a particular reason for why this tradition exists.  Behind the many nazarenos are the pasos, which are carried by an average of 40 costaleros.  Many of these pasos are the originals from the 15th and 16th centuries. IMG_2657Unfortunately, if it is raining or is forecasted to rain these beautiful pasos are forced to be postponed or even canceled due to their antiquity.  These beautiful pasos have incredible beeswax designs and during the night, there are many candles lit during the procession.  The processions themselves can last from three to twelve hours depending on how many nazarenos there are. Thursday processions go well inimgresto the next morning (Good Friday) and for this day in particular, many of the woman are dressed in a traditional outfit called mantillas.  These mantillas are long black veils and are worn to solely on solemn occasions such as during Semana Santa, or for funerals. Sometimes these processions are held in complete silence, others have music, and some even have flower petals thrown over the pasos.  There is a very famous song type called las saetas that are sung from balconies as the pasos approach.  All of these processions go throughout Seville, however, all of them go through the Cathedral before they return to their church.Attached is a brief video of Semana Santa in Seville.

Tradicciones de los romanos

La península Ibérica ha cambiado desde el imperio romano pero los romanos en particular han dejado muchas costumbres.  Después de dos mil años, una plétora de ocupantes diferentes y nombres diferente de España, algunos de las costumbres han quedado y se han difundido a través del mundo.  Todas las comunidades a través del mundo comparten la muerte, aunque la manera en como reaccionan está variada.  Los romanos han introducido tres prácticas que incluyen una procesión y misa nueve días después de la muerte, poniendo flores a lado de la tumba, y por los emperadores muertos un cambio de cabeza en la estatua.

Los romanos tenían una tradición de lamentar la muerte por nueve días y en este día final celebraban con un banquete, una procesión, y finalmente misa.  Los Católicos hoy en día hacen una procesión y misa nueve días después de la muerte y a causa de eso se puede ver que está practicado en España, un país donde la mayoría de lHIT17959a población es Católico, y también que se ha difundido a través del mundo.  Los Católicos también usan la novena y durante estas nueve días personas asisten misa cada día para rezar, cantar, celebrar, y honorar la Virgen María.  La novena es nueve días donde los Católicos que no son practicantes regresan a la Iglesia en adición a los Católicos que todavía son practicantes.  Cuando fui a Carmona, un profesor de la historia del arte, Rafael Morales, me había dicho que esta práctica de tener una procesión antes de que el cadáver incinerado estaba puesto en la tumba (Necrópolis).  La tumba más famosa en Carmona se llama tumba de los elefantes pero también habían otras tumbas y en todos casos cada tumba individual estaba compuesto de una sola familia.

Los romanos eran las primeras que ponían flores a lado de la tumba de los muertos (Rafael Morales).  Ellos utilizaban flores para mejorar el olor del cementerio pero hoy en día están utilizados para mostrar amor o respecto a una persona muerta.  Este es una tradición con raíces muy simples y útiles pero la mayoría de personas no saben de donde viene esta tradición que está presente a través del mundo.  Hoy en día esta práctica está hecho en Sevilla en el cementero de San Fernando.sanfernando3La tradición final es el cambio de estatuas después de la muerte de una persona importante en la sociedad como el emperador.  Los emperadores en Roma no vivían mucho tiempo y por eso los romanos empezaron de utilizar la práctica de reciclar.  En vez de hacer una nueva estatua entera sólo quitaron la cabeza y pusieron la cabeza del nuevo emperador para conservar materiales, dinero, y tiempo.  Los romanos eran pioneros y a ellos no les importaban que las nuevas cabezas no cabían los cuerpos de las estatuas porque estaban más preocupado con conservar materiales preciosos.  Imagino que los romanos tenían un lema que decía, “Salvar el planeta, una cabeza a la vez” porque tenían casi tantos emperadores que tenemos copas hoy en día.

En conclusión, los romanos han contribuido mucho a la sociedad de hoy, especialmente con relación a la muerte.  Los romanos habían introducido la idea de poner flores en las tumbas, la idea de tener un banquete, procesión, y misa nueve días después de la muerte, y finalmente la idea revolucionaria de reciclar.  Ellos han formado unas tradiciones que todavía están practicado hoy en día por ejemplo la novena, poniendo flores en las tumbas para mejorar el olor putrefacto que hoy en día tiene un rol importante en la economía, y finalmente han contribuido a la idea monumental de reciclar y conservar el uso de materiales preciosos.  Todas estas ideas y tradiciones estaban reciclado y se puede ver eso con el vinculo a la ciudad de Sevilla pero es muy impresionante que también conectan al resto del mundo.

Is it Islamic, Christian, Jewish, or Mudéjar?

Andalucía is home to some of the most unique and fascinating history of interactions between Islamic, Jewish, and Christian cultures, which mixed to create what is known today as Múdejar (  El Real Alcázar, the Royal 4CD41D53-EFAE-4182-8F8A-C08DB2E34BF2Palace in Seville, has gorgeous patios or courtyards as well Roman aqueducts.  The façade shown appears to be of Islamic influence as it was built using brick, plaster, tile, and wood.  These materials are typical of an Islamic structure since they are materials that will eventually break down.  The Islamic faith believes that only Allah is eternal.  Key hints as to the Christian influence of this façade are the lions and castles found in the detailed plasterwork representing the Kingdoms of Castille and Leon.  The tiling also references god when it says “por a gracia de Dios”, which translates to “by the grace of God”.Version 2Finally, the façade also includes Marble, rarely used in the Islamic world (Córdoba is the most famous exception) because it was considered too permanent (  Based on the construction of this façade it is thought that Muslims built this for Christian rulers.  Although the interactions of these three cultures are always mentioned I have always wondered, since examples are never given, of how the Jewish Culture was involved in the creation of mudéjar.  When I asked Antonio Cuaresmo, he explained that through his research he could not find any particular characteristic of art or architecture solely attributed to Jewish culture, although there were a few that overlapped with Christian and Islamic cultures.  He also told me that the main way the Jewish people contributed was by paying extra taxes for these grand projects as a way for guaranteeing that they could continue living in this now Christian dominated land.