Holy Smoke & Lingering Goodbyes: Pursuing the Cruz de Mayo Procession in Sevilla ~ A Photo Journal

It was my last day in Sevilla after an incredible week of exploring the sights.

Just me, my camera and a sense of total liberation.

Seeking action, seeking shade… seeking everything and nothing in particular.

Cruz de Mayo Religious Procession Parade in Sevilla - by Ben Holbrook (Copyright Ben Holbrook)

Words & photos by your procession pursuing amigo, Ben Holbrook.

I sat on a step in Plaza del Triunfo, reflecting on all I’d seen and done, how deeply I’d fallen for the Andalusian capital.

Cruz de Mayo Religious Procession Parade in Sevilla - by Ben Holbrook (Copyright Ben Holbrook)It had been so much more than I could have hoped for. The warmth of the people, the light, the energy.

It finally felt familiar, like part of me. No longer the elusive mystery it had been in my mind for so long.

Cruz de Mayo Religious Procession Parade in Sevilla - by Ben Holbrook (Copyright Ben Holbrook)But how should I spend my last day? I’d already seen the sights. Many of them more than once.

I decided to seek out a tapas bar. To toast the city and say thank you with one last glass of sherry.

But sweet Sevilla had other plans for me.

Cruz de Mayo Religious Procession Parade in Sevilla - by Ben Holbrook (Copyright Ben Holbrook)From nowhere, a marching band rumbled through the streets, shaking the ground and piercing the ever present clip-clop-trotting of the city’s ubiquitous horse and carriages.

Cruz de Mayo Religious Procession Parade in Sevilla - by Ben Holbrook (Copyright Ben Holbrook)Drums reverberated through my gut, brass instruments squealed like hot cats in the night.

Cruz de Mayo Religious Procession Parade in Sevilla - by Ben Holbrook (Copyright Ben Holbrook)Metal thuribles swung ahead of the procession, filling the air with a sweet and holy smoke.

Cruz de Mayo Religious Procession Parade in Sevilla - by Ben Holbrook (Copyright Ben Holbrook)Mamas and papas cheered from the sidelines, grandpas following dutifully. Cigars in hand.

Cruz de Mayo Religious Procession Parade in Sevilla - by Ben Holbrook (Copyright Ben Holbrook)I followed along as they casually crusaded through the city, stopping occasionally to smoke cigarettes and for the brass players to empty their instruments – little jets of saliva dripping into the street and evaporating in the midday sun.

Cruz de Mayo Religious Procession Parade in Sevilla - by Ben Holbrook (Copyright Ben Holbrook)Three small children approached me, rattling little tins and asking in perfect English if I’d like to donate money for the “Cruz de Mayo” (the Cross of May). I did.

Cruz de Mayo Religious Procession Parade in Sevilla - by Ben Holbrook (Copyright Ben Holbrook)

It was the perfect goodbye. A lingering farewell I will always remember.


More posts from Sevilla coming muy pronto!

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