The traditions of Semana Santa (Easter or Holy Week) go back to 16th century, when the Catholic Church decided to present the Passion of Christ to the population in an easily understandable way: they had made huge wooden figures of Saints by the greatest artists of that time and those figures were carried with the processions.
The realism of these figures impressed people deeply indeed, and still today the Sevillanos are cheering the Holy Virgin of their parish church in a way that is often hard to understand for spectators.
Ahead of the procession comes a group of so-called Nazarenos in long gowns with hoods, behind them Penitents, with crosses on their shoulders, then the figures of the Saints carried by Costaleros - each of them has to carry a weight of up to 100 kg.
All these men are members of a Cofradia, a brotherhood dedicating to organize one of those processions. There are 52 Cofradias in Seville.
The processions are deeply impressing for the spectator, and thousands of tourists come to Seville each year during Easter week.