Semana Santa and a montadito
I´d forgotten how much I love Semana Santa in Sevilla.
People often think that Holy Week processions are gloomy and spooky, what with the pointy hoods and the crosses (not fiery, though) and the parading of images of torture and death. But somehow it´s not like that at all. Instead, the whole thing feels like a mixture between an ancient festival and an open air opera. The bands play music that is solemn, but is only a couple of cymbal clashes away from being downright jolly. Add to that that the images of the Passion are carried on guilded baroque floats, full of candles, that rose petals are thrown, and that the air is thick with incense and orange blossom, and you have yourself a pretty heady experience.
Hungry work, you can imagine, chasing the different processions all through the old town, dashing from one to the next, slithering through the massive crowds, finding a shortcut that will let you see the first paso of this one in the famous place, and then maybe the second of the other one in the little square with all the trees, and then dash to the bridge to see a third one crossing.
Luckily, unlike other places that shut down completey for Holy Week, Sevilla´s bars are all open, and packed. So don´t be fooled if it looks like we like to celebrate the more harrowing aspects of Christianity. This is as much a party as all the pagan spring stuff, and don´t you forget it. Have a beer, have two. As for food, if you´re mindful of the lenten rules, you´re in a town proud of its fried fish. I´m particulary fond of cazón en adobo, a type of shark marinated in lemon, paprika and herbs and then battered and fried.
If not, the thing to have is a montadito de pringá. This is a small panini type of grilled sandwich, filled with all the meat that´s left over from a cocido.
So next time you do a cocido, cassoulet, bollito misto or cholent, remember this. Even if you only have a few scraps, cut them up, mix them well, drizzle some olive oil inside a bun, and put it inside a sandwich press. Heaven.